The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center re-opened in January 2018 after undergoing a 4-year renovation. New, updated, and digital interactive exhibits tell a more complete narrative, beginning with Citizen Potawatomi oral traditions, continuing through early ways of life, conflict, and forced removals before examining more recent history, including our time in Kansas and Indian Territory, and ending with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation today.
The Collections and Research Division serves as the repository for CPN’s cultural and historical collections. It is of great importance that these collections be preserved, interpreted, and made accessible to Tribal members and scholars. The materials in our collections, most of which are one-of-a-kind, include cultural artifacts, historical manuscripts, Tribal administrative and governmental archives, photographs, genealogical research and various forms of multimedia.
The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Eagle Aviary offers a permanent home to eagles rescued from the wild that have been injured and cannot be rehabilitated and released. In Potawatomi culture, eagles are a sacred animal that fly so high they deliver prayers to the Creator. While only a handful of Native American aviaries exist in the U.S., this facility is the first of its kind to incorporate culturally significant elements into the facility design.
Aviary staff pride themselves on practicing sound husbandry to provide these birds permanent homes in an environment created with enrichment intended to replicate a portion of their wild habitat. They specialize in educating community members about eagles and other raptors, providing naturally molted feathers to tribal members and giving these birds their best lives.
The Potawatomi language is a common thread through the culture and history of the Bodewadmi. The CPN Language Department’s mission is to create resources so people can use and speak the language without fear. CPN’s language resources include a Potawatomi dictionary, self-paced online courses and various events that are held annually for community members. The courses include Beginner 1, Beginner 2, Intermediate and Children’s courses for tribal members who want to learn the language.
The story of Potawatomi and other Neshnabe peoples stretches back to times that precede written histories, beginning on the East Coast of what is now North America. By the time Europeans arrived, a great migration was complete and the tribes were living around the Great Lakes, with a social structure that included a strong communal lifestyle and seasonal lifeways. The people were bound together through ties of kinship, custom and mutual necessity. Several removals devastated the Potawatomi people after Europeans moved to present-day America, but a resilient group, the Citizen Potawatomi refused to give up hope.