The Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center’s Tribal Heritage Project seeks to capture each CPN veteran and elder’s story through video interviews to safeguard the Nation and Tribal members’ history for generations to come. Options include in-person at the CHC, at Tribal members’ homes across the United States, during district meetings and through virtual platforms.
“No story is too small,” said interview clerk and Whitehead descendant Christopher Lenggenhager.
The project serves as a chance for CPN service men and women to share their experiences, both personal and military. Veterans who have served during peacetime or any conflicts — not just World War II and the Korean War — are encouraged to participate.
“Any story we can get, be it a war story or any wisdom, we’d love to get,” Lenggenhager said.
Family interviews provide an open forum for Potawatomi to share family trees, stories and more.\
“There are no requirements or parameters that they have to follow,” said Darius Oden, CHC audio/visual production assistant. “If they want to share a 15-minute excerpt or whether they want to talk for an hour, it’s totally up to them.”
How to contribute
CHC staff are currently calling each CPN member over the age of 70 to set up interviews, with special focus on veterans. However, the Nation does not have correct contact information for each Tribal member and seeks the help of Citizen Potawatomi to support this initiative. There are multiple ways to schedule interviews: online at portal.potawatomi.org, by calling the CHC at 405-878-5830 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the project initially focuses on elders and veterans, Lenggenhager invites all CPN members to share their family’s history and stories.
“Our elders are our history. They shaped our world and our lives. The future generations want to learn from your wisdom and honor your story,” Lenggenhager said.
All CPN members are welcome to participate, regardless of age, background or Tribal involvement.
“Visual representation is a very pertinent thing,” Oden said. “We provide an open format, and we do our best to make Tribal members feel comfortable.”
The CHC will save each unedited interview in its digital library that future generations can access.
Find details on the Tribal Heritage Project at portal.potawatomi.org, by calling the CHC at 405-878-5830 or emailing christopher.lenggenhager