Native peoples aren't dinosaurs.Byline: Rennard Strickland For The Register-Guard
On Sept. 6 The Register-Guard published a story about American Indian American Indian
or Native American or Amerindian or indigenous American
Any member of the various aboriginal peoples of the Western Hemisphere, with the exception of the Eskimos (Inuit) and the Aleuts. artist Jenny `Chapoose' Taylor and her beaded art. She grew up on the Vintah-Ovray Reservation in northeastern Utah, where at 9 years of age she learned traditional Indian beading techniques from her aunt.
Although rejected from the Eugene Mayor's Art Show, the work, titled `Nations,' has become a part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian National Museum of the American Indian, institution devoted to the collection, preservation, and presentation of the culture of the indigenous populations of the Western Hemisphere, a division of the Smithsonian Institution. in Washington, D.C. Taylor said she looked forward to going to Washington to `maybe get to meet the director.'
The same morning the article appeared, that museum director was in Eugene at the University of Oregon School of Law The University of Oregon School of Law, housed in the Knight Law Center, is Oregon's state funded law school. The school was founded in 1884. The school is located on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Oregon, on the corner of 15th and Agate streets, , teaching his first class as Wayne Morse Wayne Lyman Morse (October 20, 1900 – July 22, 1974) was a United States Senator from Oregon from 1945 until 1969. In 1953, he made a filibuster for 22 hours and 26 minutes protesting the Tidelands Oil legislation, which at the time was the longest one-person filibuster in Distinguished Professor of Law and Politics.
The director, W. Richard West Richard West may refer to:
West graduated from law school at Stanford University Stanford University, at Stanford, Calif.; coeducational; chartered 1885, opened 1891 as Leland Stanford Junior Univ. (still the legal name). The original campus was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. David Starr Jordan was its first president. in 1971 after completing a masters in history at Harvard University Harvard University, mainly at Cambridge, Mass., including Harvard College, the oldest American college. Harvard College
Harvard College, originally for men, was founded in 1636 with a grant from the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. . The son of Dick West, an internationally acclaimed painter and sculptor, West was in his early teens when his family traveled across country from their Oklahoma homeland to the New England New England, name applied to the region comprising six states of the NE United States—Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The region is thought to have been so named by Capt. summer camps where his father taught art. That summer, the West family went to see the Indian materials at the Smithsonian, called `the nation's attic."
Historically, most of the Smithsonian's Indian art The vast scope of the art of India intertwines with the cultural history, religions and philosophies which place art production and patronage in social and cultural contexts. and artifacts artifacts
see specimen artifacts. were housed in the National History Museum alongside the fossils of prehistoric plants and the skeletons of dinosaurs. Young Richard remembers asking his father why the Indians were with the dinosaurs. His father, a college art professor, replied, `I guess they think we are extinct, too.'
With the creation of the NMAI NMAI National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian)
NMAI National Museum of American Illustration (Newport Rhode, Island) , West, Congress, the Smithsonian and thousands of individual citizens and tribal groups have begun to reverse that stereotyped view of native people as dinosaurs.
I will always remember, soon after West assumed the directorship, a meeting he held with tribal people in the heart of Chickasaw Nation
It is my honor and privilege to team-teach a class on Native American culture and intellectual property rights with West. Our hope, and the hope of the Morse Center, is that over the next year - through courses, workshops and lectures - that citizens of our community and beyond can come to understand how and why the understanding of native life and culture is so important. Our goal is to help people look beyond the stereotype of `the Washington Redskins,' `the Fighting Illini,' `the vanished American,' `the Last of the Mohicans,' and the adventures of the Lone Ranger and Tonto - his faithful Indian companion.
This question of the Indian image is not just academic. Many of our Native American students at the UO were deeply offended at what they regarded as a disrespectful dis·re·spect·ful
Having or exhibiting a lack of respect; rude and discourteous.
disre·spect dismissal of their objections to the basketball team playing Illinois, a team with an `Indian mascot.' The NCAA NCAA
National Collegiate Athletic Association is working to address such issues and students retain hope that Oregon, itself, may come to terms with the racism it fosters. Two of the teams on the Duck's football schedule this year, Stanford and Oklahoma, have addressed their own misuse of such images, and many more throughout the United States are doing so.
I am frequently asked why Indian mascots are more problematic than `the fighting Irish' or `The Vikings.' The answer is simple: It is the result of United States federal Indian policy Federal Indian Policy refers the relationship between the United States Government and the Indian Tribes that exist within its borders. Federal Indian Policy contains several eras in which the way the U.S. Government deals with the Indians is constantly changing. . You see, there is no Bureau of Irish Affairs. No Viking agent holds `trust title' to the lands of these national descendants. There is in the case of Native Americans.
The question of mascots, movies and museums is significant for Native Americans. It transcends sports and entertainment. It influences law. It dominates resource management. It profoundly impacts every aspect of contemporary American Indian policy and shapes both the general cultural view of the Indian as well as Indian self-image.
No groups other than the Indian face the legal situation in which their land, as well as their economic, political and cultural fate, is so completely in the hands of others. That is so because of the way in which substantial tribal resources are held `in trust,' with the management and regulation, if not always operation, resting with the federal government as `trustee.' The result is that the non-Indian in the U.S. Congress and in the executive branch control the fate of Indian peoples and their resources when they legislate and administer practices and policies.
The Indian image is therefore an especially crucial and controlling one because it is that image which looms large as non-Indians decide the fate of Indian people. If the non-Indian decision makers continue to view native people as dinosaurs, as redskins Redskins can refer to:
West will will help us understand these issues when he joins Indian rights advocate Suzan Shown Harjo Suzan Shown Harjo (b. 1945) is a Hodulgee Muscogee Creek/Cheyenne Native American and well-known Native American activist. She is a poet, writer and lecturer.
She was the lead party in Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo, 284 F.Supp.2d 96 (D.D.C. 2003), a case in which the U.S. in a public dialogue, `Mascots, Museums and Indian Identity: A Conversation,' at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, in Room 175 of the Knight Law Center at the UO. West also will give a public lecture, `Native America in the 21st Century: Out of the Mists and Beyond Myth,' at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 in Room 175 Knight Law Center.
In the real world of 21st century Native Americans, Indian people have amongst their tribal members highly educated and sophisticated doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, economists, technologists, teachers, forest managers, farmers and engineers. From being dinosaurs on the way to disappearance, the 2000 census reported more than 4 million native people.
This story is at the heart of what the Wayne Morse Center will be exploring over the coming year. Citizens of Eugene and Western Oregon don't have to travel to Washington to hear about it - they can join us in the law school to meet and visit with West. Perhaps next time even the mayor's art show will see the beauty of traditional Indian arts that tell an amazing modern story.