Citizen Potawatomie Nation Launches Tribal Genealogy Website

A new genealogy website hopes to help members of the Potawatomi Nation uncover information about their family’s past.

Most people have heard of or used a genealogy website, like Ancestry or 23 and Me to learn more about their family’s past; but these mainstream sites may not help people of all cultures.

After about six years of work, the Potawatomi Nation launched their own tribal genealogy website. Its goal is to help tribal members cross borders and generations to build their family tree.

“The information we provide, the nation and everything has been verified,” said Dr. Kelli Mosteller, executive director of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center.

Mezodanek, or Family, is the Potawatomi Nation’s new genealogical website and database. The resource contains written records dating back to the Treaties and the 1700s. Members are permitted to trace their roots back to the founding families.

Mosteller said people aren’t just limited to blood relatives either.

“You can also add if you have an aunt. It’s a relationship that’s really important in indigenous communities. It might not be a blood relationship, but you can add them to your family profile,” he said. she declared.

Mosteller said the treatment of indigenous people throughout the country’s history makes having a resource like Mezodanek crucial.

“The federal government was responsible for keeping the records of our ancestors and they didn’t always do a great job,” Mosteller said. “From moves and reservations to boarding schools, to all the things that have happened to us thanks to Indian politics over the past 200 years, 300 years have added this challenge of not being able to keep our communities together. to convey these things. “

The website was launched over a month ago and around 350 tribal members have created a profile.

A Tribal ID number is required to create a profile. People married to someone with ID can also create a profile. Each person can add their tribe name and clan to their page.

There is also a place to publish oral history, which was the primary means of conveying information in Native families before the colonizers arrived in the United States.

“They are third cousins, they have never met in person, but now they have been exchanging emails and getting to know each other,” Mosteller said. “One lives in Texas and the other in California.”

The Potawatomi Nation plans to host a virtual tutorial on how to use the website at their annual powwow later this year.

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