Cultural Heritage Center


Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center exists to educate tribal members, the greater Native American community and other visitors about the historical and contemporary aspects of the tribe.

The acquisition, preservation, exhibition and exploration of the diverse materials pertaining to Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s culture and traditions guide the educational programs and exhibits. We maintain, protect and nurture our culture, spiritual beliefs and historic values through the celebration of our unique traditions, language and sovereignty.

Promoting education is a cornerstone of our mission.


Services


The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center offers a non-lending library and research archive. It also provides monthly cultural classes that are open to the public and houses Citizen Potawatomi Gift Shop, which sells Native American crafted items, jewelry, art and Native craftwork supplies. Cultural Heritage Center tours are available for small and large groups by appointment.

The Cultural Heritage Center is available for business meetings, legislative functions, art shows, employee training, award ceremonies and veteran events.

Projects


Tribal Heritage Productions

Tribal Heritage Productions records the culture and identity of Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal members by videotaping and producing family history videos for each of the 49 founding families.

The Tribal Veterans Tribute Series DVD collection contains interviews with tribal veterans about events and their experiences while serving in the United States military.

Galleries


The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center was re-opened in January 2018 after undergoing a four-year renovation. New, updated and digital interactive exhibits tell a more complete narrative, beginning with Citizen Potawatomi oral traditions, through early ways of life, conflict and forced removals before examining more recent history, including U.S. and Oklahoma history, and ending with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation as it is today.

The center leads visitors on a journey through Potawatomi, Oklahoma and U.S. history, beginning with pre-European contact and continuing to present day. Digital displays and interactives feature an astrology exhibit, a life-sized replica of a handmade Potawatomi canoe and a wigwam, a traditional Potawatomi style home.

The center’s combination of traditional, digital and interactive arrangements are now more immersive and tell a deeper, more accurate story of Potawatomi history.

One key exhibit is a wall of moccasins featuring 86 pairs of soft leather footwear that were handmade by tribal members from across the United States. Each represents 10 of the 859 Potawatomi forced out of their home in the Great Lakes in 1838 to hike the Trail of Death.

Other exhibits and displays feature both replicas and original documents of treaties and legal papers, a traditional wedding dress worn by Mary Bourbonnais, the press that printed the Indian Advocate newspaper and a trunk from Carlisle Indian Industrial School.

Guests finish the tour of new exhibits with a look at more recent Tribal history. They learn about how the Tribe has grown from 1971, when its bank account held just $550 and its assets included an aging mobile home used as an administration building, to becoming the economic engine and largest employer in Pottawatomie County. The final exhibit highlights the Nation’s constitutional reform and many Tribal enterprises.

Just outside the main exhibit floor is the Long Room, where visitors learn how Potawatomi have participated in wars and conflicts throughout history. The venue also serves as a memorial for many Citizen Potawatomi Nation military veterans. The Veterans Wall of Honor displays photos of Tribal members who have served in the U.S. armed forces.