The Citizen Potawatomi Nation

Published on May 30, 2012 by Amy

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Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Citizen Potawatomi Nation

Citizen Potawatomi Nation is a federally recognized tribe of Potawatomi people located in Oklahoma. The Potawatomi are traditionally an Algonquian-speaking Eastern Woodlands tribe. They have 29,155 enrolled tribal members, of which 10,312 live in the state of Oklahoma.

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The Citizen Potawatomi Nation is headquartered in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Their tribal jurisdictional area is in Cleveland and Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma. Of the 26,917 enrolled members, 10,312 live within the state of Oklahoma. They have their housing authority and issue tribal vehicle tags.

Enrollment to the tribe is based on lineal descent; that is to say, the tribe has no minimum blood quantum.

Economic development

They operate a truck stop, two gas stations, two smoke shops, a bingo hall, and two tribal casinos, FireLake Discount Foods in Shawnee, FireLake Golf Course, and First National Bank and Trust, with two locations in Shawnee, one in Holdenville, two in Lawton, and three in communities surrounding Lawton. Their estimated economic impact is $422.4 million.


In January 2006, the tribe opened its extensive Citizen Potawatomi Nation Museum and Cultural Heritage Center in Shawnee. The 36,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) building houses the nation’s research library, archives, genealogy research center, veteran’s wall of honor, exhibit and meeting space, and a museum store.

The tribe’s annual intertribal powwow is no longer held. The Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Family Reunion Festival is held on the final weekend in June each year. It attracts about 5,000 CPN members and their family members for a variety of cultural and other activities over a three-day period.


The Citizen Potawatomi Nation is the successor apparent to the Mission Band of Potawatomi Indians, located originally in the Wabash River valley of Indiana. With the Indian Removal Act after the 1833 Treaty of Chicago, the Mission Band was forced to march to a new reserve in Kansas. Of the 850 Potawatomi people forced to move, more than 40 died along the way. The event is known in Potawatomi history as the Potawatomi Trail of Death.

In Kansas, the Mission Band of Potawatomi lived on a small reserve with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. The Prairie Band had adapted to the Plains culture but the Mission Band remained steadfast to the Woodlands culture. Both cultural groups exhibited very different ceremonial and subsistence strategies, yet were forced to share the land. Seeking a better opportunity for its people, the Mission Band leaders chose to take small farms rather than live together with the Prairie Band. Shortly thereafter, and not fully understanding the tax system, most of the new individual allotments of land passed out of Mission Band ownership and into that of white settlers and traders. In 1867, Mission Potawatomi members signed a treaty selling their Kansas lands in order to purchase lands in Indian Territory with the proceeds. To reinforce the new land purchase and learning from their Kansas experience, tribal members took U.S. citizenship. From that time on, they became known as the Citizen Potawatomi.

By the early 1870’s, most of the Citizen Potawatomi had resettled in Indian Territory, present-day Oklahoma, forming several communities near present-day Shawnee. In 1890, the Citizen Potawatomi participated, unwillingly, in the allotment process implemented through the Dawes Act of 1887. With this Act, the Citizen Potawatomi people were forced to accept individual allotments again. In the Land Run of 1891, the remainder of the Potawatomi reservation in Oklahoma was opened up to non-Indian settlement, leaving about 450 square miles (1,200 km2) of the reservation simply given away by the government to settlers.

Source: wikipedia Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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