As temperatures drop and people head back inside, the opportunity to learn more about the Tribe shouldn’t be lost until the next powwow season. Books by Potawatomi authors and chronicles of the Tribe’s history are available to Tribal members, both in the CPN jurisdiction and across the nation.

CPN Cultural Heritage Center Curator and Archivist Blake Norton, who oversees the CHC’s Mezodan (Family) Research Library discussed some of that library’s offerings and other sources for learning more about the tribe.

What is the difference in our library and the public library?

“The Mezodan (Family) Research Library is a non-circulating tribal library focused on Eastern Woodland American Indian ethnology and ethnohistory, with an emphasis on Potawatomi, Neshnabek (Ojibwe; Odawa; Potawatomi) and Algonquin cultures.”

Is it open to anyone?

“Yes. The library is available to all interested researchers.”

Can you check out books?  

“No. We are a non-circulating library, with available on-site research only. We are diligently working to provide a digital catalog of our holdings via the Cultural Heritage Center webpage,”

What kind of books does the library have?

“With more than 7,000 mixed-media resources, the Mezodan Research Library houses and makes accessible one of the most diverse collections of Eastern Woodland ethnology, language and history in both the region and among tribal libraries nationwide.

“Resources we provide include books, manuscripts, maps, periodicals, audio/video and genealogical material as well as digital access to the holdings of various academic and research institutions.”

What is the oldest or unique book in the library?

“We are very proud of our Annual Report and Bulletin series published by the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE). Congressionally established in 1879, the BAE and its publication series recorded the field research of some of America’s earliest and most recognized anthropologists in the fields of American Indian archaeology, ethnology and linguistics from 1879 to 1967.”

Why is it important to have the library?

“The Mezodan Research Library was created to unite the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s diverse collections with the tribal population and community at-large to facilitate the edification of culture, history and heritage.”

What are the hours?

“The library is open Monday through Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm.”

Can you make any suggestions for books that might be available at a neighborhood library around the country?

“The Potawatomis: Keepers of the Fire by R. David Edmunds and Potawatomi of the West: Origins of the Citizen Band by Joseph F. Murphy.”