Keepers of the Fire: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi

An Exhibition on Indigenous History and Culture in Southwest Michigan

Bozho! (Hello in Potawatomi)

The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in Saint Joseph is excited to present our newest exhibit, THE KEEPERS OF THE FIRE: THE POKAGON BAND OF POTAWATOMI, which celebrates the indigenous heritage of Southwest Michigan. We have worked closely with the Dowagiac-based Pokagon Band, along with other museums in the area to offer this cultural showcase of the Pokégnek Bodéwadmik as they are known in their own language.

The exhibit features traditional and contemporary black ash baskets, quill work, bead work, lively-colored regalia, and a recreated wigwam—-the traditional Pokagon dwelling. Other notable items include birch bark books, writings by early twentieth-century Potawatomi leader Simon Pokagon, and a rare nineteenth-century beaded Potawatomi saddle.

The exhibition opens August 14, 2020 and runs through the summer of 2021. Admission is free. Please call to arrange group tours, which will be in accordance with current regulations (see below).

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Migwetth (Thank you in Potawatomi)

Black Ash Baskets - Courtesy Pokagon Band of Potawatomi
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center is following all the current guidelines and regulations for museums, including limiting the number of people in the building, maintaining social distance, and requiring that people wear face masks inside the museum.

Special thanks to the following organizations who made this exhibition possible:

The Department of Language and Culture, The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi / Pokégnek Bodéwadmik

The History Museum – South Bend, Indiana

Niles History Center, Niles, Michigan

Hannah Lindahl Children’s Museum, Mishawaka, Indiana

History Center at Courthouse Square, Berrien Springs, Michigan