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Citizen Potawatomi Nation Receives Grant To Update Cultural Heritage Center

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Citizen Potawatomi Nation
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An exhibit in The Citizen Potawatomi Nation's Cultural Heritage Center in Shawnee, Okla.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation recently received nearly $98,000 dollars to update their Cultural Heritage Center in Shawnee and expand two galleries showcasing the Nation’s history.

The Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services will give the tribe an opportunity to create more interactive displays and cover contemporary issues, like establishing and reforming the tribe's constitution in their new gallery space. The exhibitions will also cover diversifying tribal enterprises, community development and cultural preservation.

Kelly Mosteller, the director of the Cultural Heritage Center, said the new exhibits will have more flexibility.

"We just want to create a space that's a little bit more dynamic and give the visitor and see things that have changed from visit to visit," Mosteller said.

Mosteller says the money will go to updating the final section of the museum which examines the tribe's history from the 1950s until present day.

One section will be devoted to the dispute between the tribes and Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt over gaming compacts, of which Citizen Potawatomi was a part.

"The world around us is changing and changing the way we have to react and the way we conduct business with the world around us and internally," said Mosteller.

The museum opened in January of 2006, but closed for three years beginning in 2014 due to flood damage.

Construction is set to begin in the fall of 2021 and last through spring 2022.

Allison Herrera is a radio and print journalist who's worked for PRX's The World, Colorado Public Radio as the climate and environment editor and as a freelance reporter for High Country News’ Indigenous Affairs desk.
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