“We Are From Akwesasne”
Photo: courtesy of the Akwesasne Museum

There are a number of tribal museums and cultural centers that have more than one component, such as a library, archive and museum together in one facility or complex. All provide more than one service to their community. Reinforcement of traditional arts is one of the services intrinsic to nearly all tribal museums and cultural centers. This is viewed as a service to the tribal community by the majority of tribal facilities. Classes are held to ensure that traditional arts such as basketry, pottery, weaving, and beadwork continue to be practiced and learned by today’s tribal members in order to carry on the skills of ancestors for the next generations. There are also various educational programs geared towards non-native audiences. Educational opportunities for visitors to a tribal community are designed to increase the appreciation of native culture, history and art. This plays an important role in community relations, can help to dispel stereotypes, and assists in understanding the unique rights, roles, and responsibilities inherent to native people and communities. Lectures, cultural presentations, and other opportunities for interaction are all part of tribal museum and cultural center educational activities.


smoke dance class
Photo: courtesy of the Akwesasne Museum
“Legends, Song and Dance” is one of the courses provided at the Akwesasne Museum through funding from the New York State Council on the Arts. Smoke Dance is one of the most popular dances. Students learn the meaning and origin of the dance, as well as practicing their dance moves.
Students in a ‘Legends Song and Dance’ class sponsored by the Akwesasne Museum, with funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, reenact the Haudenosaunee Creation Story.
swans creation story
Photo: courtesy of the Akwesasne Museum
basketmaking tradition
Photo: courtesy of the Akwesasne Museum
The New York Folklife Society brought lecturers to the Akwesasne Museum from several other Native communities. Theresa Secord, director of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance, is pictured here. The splint and sweetgrass basketmaking tradition is found across the Northeast.
veterans wall
Photo: courtesy of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Veterans’ Wall of Honor recognizes the veterans who served our country with pride and strength.  The names and accomplishments of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation veterans are displayed.  Photographs cover the wall with a banner raised high above stating “Poor is the nation that has no heroes, but disgraceful are those who having them forgets.”

The American Flag, CPN Flag, and each Military branch’s flag are proudly placed on a platform in the center of the Wall of Honor. Eight glass cases respectfully display veterans’ memorabilia, uniforms, correspondence, awards and decorations, documents, and an array of items used in battle.  Touch-screen kiosks display the veterans’ photographs, documents, and stories that have been video recorded and edited into documentaries called the Veteran Video Series.  Bringing the exhibit together is approximately 300 individual military photographs of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation veterans.  There are over 600 registered CPN Veterans in this database.