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Chinese scholar studying Potawatomi community

NOW: Chinese scholar studying Potawatomi community

DOWAGIAC, Mich. -- A scholar from halfway around the world is in Michiana to learn more about a historic Native American tribe. She's studying the Potawatomi community and learning more about the people and culture behind the Pokagon Band. 

Wen Peihong is a scholar in China who studies ethnic minorities and their cultural preservation. Her latest research centers on Simon Pokagon's "Queen of the Woods" and the Potawatomi community.

Wen Peihong is no stranger to books. 

"I have read Maya Angelou, Alice Walker," said Peihong. 

The associate professor of English at China's Southwest University of Nationalities is especially familiar with this one. 

"I have been translating this book into Chinese," said Peihong. 

She's spent the last two years translating Simon Pokagon's "Queen of the Woods."

"Comparative study of ethnic literature in China and in the U.S.," said Peihong.

It's part of a research project she's conducting on ethnic minorities and their cultural preservation.

"Their problems and their sufferings but their struggles and success," said Peihong. 

For ten months she's traveled the U.S., but Monday and Tuesday she's in Michiana learning more about the Pokgaon people and culture. She says it will help her translate "Queen of the Woods." 

But for people like Pokagon Band citizen, Dr. John Low, they think it will help carry on the Pokagon story.

"If we don't study people other than ourselves, we lock ourselves into boxes and we close doors," said Lao. "Other peoples, places, and things opens the world up to us."

Peihong wants to publishe her translation in China to do her part in keeping the Pokagon community alive. She expects the book to hit the press in two years.

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