Norton, Wolf named to lead Cultural Heritage Center

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center began 2023 under new leadership. Blake Norton took over the position as director of the CHC and tribal historic preservation officer (THPO), and Keisha Wolf signed on as assistant director. They each spoke with the Hownikan about their roles and plans for the future of the CHC.

Aviary tours, book signing and classes available at Festival

As the Family Reunion Festival returns, so do classes offered by the Cultural Heritage Center. Whether wanting to learn how to bead or get information about preserving family history, there’s something for everyone at the CHC classes.

CHC hopes to capture Tribal member experiences

Heritage Interview Clerk Christopher Lenggenhager hopes to see many Tribal members during Family Reunion Festival this year and aims to record interviews that serve as video time capsules for future generations. To schedule an interview, visit

Melott family history

To highlight some of the CPN archive holdings at the Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center, the Hownikan is featuring photographs and family history of every founding Citizen Potawatomi family. The Melott family was profoundly influential in the founding of present-day Wanette, Oklahoma.

Caring for family heirlooms

With special care, family heirlooms may withstand regular use so the next generation can enjoy them as well. CPN Cultural Heritage Center experts share tips for caring for heirlooms.

Hownikan Podcast: Heirloom care, trains and awareness exhibit

During this episode, we’ll hear tips and tricks for keeping family heirlooms safe, take a ride on an exciting new piece of equipment for CPN’s industrial park, and visit an exhibit highlighting Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

LeClair family history

To highlight some of the CHC’s archival holdings, the Hownikan is featuring photographs and family history of every founding Citizen Potawatomi family. The LeClair family history can be traced back to Wisconsin and Illinois, through war, forced removals, and kinship ties with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, to present-day Pottawatomie County. Read more at

Lafromboise family history

The roots of the Lafromboise family extend to present-day Chicago, Illinois, a history preserved through family stories and documentation that are now held at the CPN Cultural Heritage Center.

Thompson helps weave family history threads

Bourbonnais-Tescier descendant Czarina Thompson began as a family history specialist at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center in 2005. Though the role has changed over the years as new technology and information becomes available, her attention to detail, extensive knowledge and love for helping Tribal members connect with their ancestors remain constant.

Colonial and Intertribal Wars: Beaver Wars (1628-1701)

The Colonial and Intertribal War series brings brief introductions to the conflicts between the Potawatomi, Nishnabe, and other tribal and colonial powers spanning 200 years between 1628 and 1830. Throughout that time, the Potawatomi participated in nine major conflicts prior to the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and forced removal by the U.S. government along the Trail of Death. The Beaver Wars began in 1628 and were the longest of those nine conflicts, lasting more than 70 years.