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Hollywood Culture gets a visit from Kansas tribe

HOLLYWOOD — Even before they met any Seminoles on the ground, a group from the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas got a good idea from the sky as to what’s been happening on the Hollywood Reservation.

As their flight was approaching Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, they took photos of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood’s new guitar-shape hotel that soars into the sky. They said they loved the color and the lights and that it makes a statement.

Jona Rupnicki, from the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas, checks out some of the clothing on the racks at the Hollywood Community Culture Center on June 28. (Photo Kevin Johnson)


The group’s itinerary during its visit in late June included visiting Hard Rock and meeting with its officials as well as a stop at the Hollywood Community Culture Center. PBPN is in the midst of a casino expansion of its own.

“We want to better our relationship with the Seminoles and learn from them, learn their culture and pick up some business pointers,” said Chago Hale, a member of the board of directors for PBPN Entertainment Corp.

The group of five was treated to Seminole favorites frybread and sofkey before learning about Seminole sewing, patchwork and cooking while guided along by Culture Center manager Bobby Frank.

Valerie Frank explains Seminole sewing, patchwork and designs to a group from the Pairie Band Potawatomi Nation. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

“They have really nice machines and lots of resources,” said Hattie Mitchell, PBPN Entertainment Corp’s board treasurer. “We want to look like this.”

“It’s always nice to meet other tribes and see their traditions and their ways,” Hale said. “Our elders could come here and do a cultural exchange. They would love something like that.”

Frank Tecumseh, left, and Chago Hale, right, of the Pairie Band Potawatomi Nation, take a close look at Seminole chickee huts with Swan Kimble and Hollywood Community Culture Center manager Bobby Frank. (Photo Kevin Johnson)
Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at