Curating the diverse collections associated with Citizen Potawatomi, Bodéwadmi and Neshnabék heritage, the Ethnology Division was established to serve as a repository and research facility for tribal members and interested scholars of all backgrounds. The collection, currently 1,400 cubic feet, is comprised of traditional and contemporary art, textiles and clothing, basketry, armaments, ethnobotanicals, spiritual and ceremonial items.

To holistically preserve and manage our ethnographic collections, the Cultural Heritage Center’s curatorial and collections staff adhere to practices we have coined Traditional Curation. These culturally sensitive protocols, compounded with institutionally standardized practices, allow for the implementation of a more comprehensive and respectful collections management program.

Research projects within the Ethnology Division are collaborative efforts between the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, kindred Bodéwadmi and Neshnabék communities, academic and non-Native institutions that focus on object symbolism and interpretation, collection management and preservation, exhibition and the development of outreach programming designed to enrich and represent the unique ideals and characteristics of each respective community.

Our collections exhibit the distinct culture, history and spirit of our people. Serving as a link to our past, they strengthen traditional foundations while providing paths for personal, communal and cultural expression.