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.

The Cultural Heritage Center is also a place for tribal members to learn by participating in cultural activities and the Potawatomi language. The Mezodan Research Library offers more than more than 7,000 mixed-media resources, giving tribal members access to one of the most diverse collections of Eastern Woodland American Indian ethnology, language and ethnohistory in both the region and among tribal libraries nationwide.

FAQ


1How do I get a family member on the Veteran’s Wall of Honor?
They need to be or have been a CPN tribal member. We need a copy of their DD214 or Service Record and an image of the veteran (preferably a military image). These items can be scanned at 600 dpi and emailed to keanne.langford@potawatomi.org. They can also be brought in to be scanned, or mailed to the attention of KeAnne Langford at the Cultural Heritage Center: 1899 S. Gordon Cooper Drive Shawnee, OK 74801. If you have any further questions, feel free to call Cultural Heritage Center Collection Manager KeAnne Langford at 405-878-5830.
2How do I give an item(s) to the Cultural Heritage Center?
In order for item(s) to be considered, please submit the Donation/Loan Consideration Form, which can be found on the website here. Once the form has been reviewed by Collections and Research Staff, you will be contacted to let you know whether the item(s) are to be accepted or not. Items can be donated or loaned. Arrangements will be made during this conversation as to what the logistics are. Copies of this form are also available at the front desk at the Cultural Heritage Center or can be mailed. If you have any further questions, feel free to call KeAnne Langford at 405-878-5830 or email her at keanne.langford@potawatomi.org.
3Can I see an item once it has been donated, even if it is not on display?
We have an open collection policy, and if a family member would like to come in and look at any item in the collection (depending on restrictions on the item), they can contact KeAnne Langford at 405-878-5830 to discuss options or email her at keanne.langford@potawatomi.org.
4What type of items does the CHC look to be donated/loaned?
CHC staff are actively collecting any items that pertain to the Tribe, to any particular family or Tribal member. We do request that these items have proper provenance (item history- who owned it, when it was made, etc.) to the best of the donor’s knowledge. If you have any further questions, feel free to call KeAnne Langford at 405-878-5830 or email her at keanne.langford@potawatomi.org.
5Do you accept items during Family Reunion Festival?
The Cultural Heritage Center no longer accepts donations or loans during Festival because it is an extremely busy time for the Cultural Heritage Center staff. We offer copies of the Donation/Loan Consideration Form at the CHC’s front desk. If you have any further questions, feel free to call KeAnne Langford at 405-878-5830 or email her at keanne.langford@potawatomi.org.
6If I donate or loan something, will it go on display?
CHC staff cannot guarantee an item will go on display or at what point it could. As exhibits change and updated, items may work into the rotation. This depends highly on the condition of the item, which is noted when an item is donated or loaned.