The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center recently received an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant in the amount of $98,259 to update the CHC’s final two galleries and educate visitors on the Nation’s history since arriving in present-day Oklahoma.

“We hope that by enhancing these galleries with immersive and interactive displays, community members and visitors will understand the lasting impact that these events had and still have on the culture and future of CPN,” said Blake Norton, Cultural Heritage Center curator. “Additionally, our goal is for Tribal members to gain an increased sense of cultural identity, pride and Tribal patriotism as well as a fuller understanding of what it meant and still means to be Potawatomi.”

Renovations seek to inform and engage visitors on the last 150 years of Tribal history.


To begin the process, CHC staff and CPN Office of Self-Governance completed a project analysis and needs statement that detailed the plans and the fund’s potential impact.

“The CHC always has interesting and engaging projects going on; I like that my small part in their continuing success helps them deliver culture and history to Tribal members in innovative ways,” said CPN Office of Self-Governance Grants Analyst Jeremy Arnett.

Missing deadlines or omitting specific information could result in a loss of opportunity and dollars. He and other self-governance employees ensure requests fulfill all requirements before submitting.

“As always, we are very appreciative for the assistance provided by the Office of Self-Governance in the submission of our grant applications,” Norton said.


After receiving notice of the award, CHC staff, CPN departments and Atlas Fine Art Services began collaborating in the summer to develop the project’s outline, style and content.

“With such a skilled staff of researchers, writers and artists, whose strengths can regularly be seen in the Hownikan, the Public Information Department is an invaluable partner on this project,” Norton said. “The same can be said about IT, which assisted CHC staff with all interactive displays currently in the museum.”

The new galleries will highlight the hurdles and triumphs the Nation has faced since the 1870s, he added.

“Constitutional establishment and reform, diversification of enterprises as well as a myriad of programs devoted to Tribal services, community development and cultural preservation have all sewn a thread of unity within the Nation and provided solid footing for the future,” Norton said. “We hope that by exhibiting these successes the community will feel empowered and more aware, resulting in continued proactivity from members and future leaders.”

Construction is set to begin fall 2021 and last through spring 2022, just in time to reveal to the community during Family Reunion Festival 2022. For more information on the Cultural Heritage Center, visit