The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center sustained severe water damage on March 31 due to a break originating at a City of Shawnee water main. Staff from the Cultural Heritage Center noticed water coming up from the Heritage Center’s Long Room about 9:30 a.m. on Monday.
Thousands of gallons of water flooded the building, damaging exhibits and causing structural damage. Crews have worked for the past two days to remove the damaged exhibits and floor from the building and prepare for the restoration process. There is no estimate for the cost of the damage or a timeline for repairs.
“This is a terrible cultural loss for the Potawatomi people,” said Chairman John Barrett. “Not only are we dealing with the structural damage and damaged exhibits, but we also have to consider the long-term damage to our cultural artifacts from added humidity in the building. It’s likely that the Cultural Heritage Center won’t be repaired in time for our Family Reunion Festival in June and that our Tribal members won’t have the opportunity to connect with their heritage. Years of hard work and hundreds of archive and cultural items could have been destroyed.”
The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center is currently closed to the public.