Original image: Native American Art – Warrior – By Sharon Cummings

For my design, I’ve constructed a memorial remembering the American Indians. If it were not for them who knows how America would be. I’ve always had a passion for American Indian history, culture, language and stories. I am part Pamunkey Indian. My great, great grandmother was the daughter of the American Indian leader Red Sky. She passed away in 2005 106 years old. She would always tell me stories of her upbringing and how the “pale skins” mistreated, abused and misused her and our people. She had such vivid memory of her past at such an old age. I admired all of her stories and since then, I’ve had a true passion for American Indians. I attend local pow-wows as well as read up on everything I can in order to become closer to such rich culture. If I could travel the United States to meet all tribes, I would. I believe American Indians has one of the most unique cultures but unfortunately their traditions and customs slowly die off with each generation. With social media and music surfacing the younger generations poisoning their minds it’s hard for them to stay in connection with who they truly are as an American Indian.

This relates to HGS because American Indians definitely suffered genocide. So much genocide that they’ve constructed an American Indian Genocide Museum that displays artifacts, pictures, videos and even clothing that was left from the bodies of the American Indians. Each tribe in America has suffered a form of neglect, brutality and mistreatment. The American Indian Holocaust, which is also known as the “500-year war” as well as the longest holocaust in the history of mankind. The death toll ranges from 95,000,000 to 114,000,000 lives that were slaughtered. Christopher Columbus was the main one responsible for personally killing half a million of Natives. The biggest killers for the American Indians were smallpox, measles, influenza, whooping cough, diphtheria, typhus, bubonic plague, cholera and scarlet fever. All that were imported by European colonists. So many lives were taken, from children, teens and adults and it goes unnoticed on a daily basis unless a person takes a class on such a topic.

My design is straightforward and to the point. I included the famous quote “We will be known forever by the tracks we leave behind.” This quote came from the Dakota proverb. Meaning the American people will be in the hearts and minds of others as time goes on. They have left their mark to the world and unfortunately, they aren’t given enough credit let alone respect. The man in the picture is a drawing of Sioux leader Sitting Bull when he was in his youth. Sitting Bull was known as one of the best chiefs known to the American Indian people. My final quote “Remember America..We Are Still Here” is allowing the viewer to realize that American Indian people still exist. Even though it seems like they are not important to the world, they are. Many persons have American Indian blood within them they have no idea exists. I loved how the colors meshed with the background. The painting isn’t harsh or too vibrant. It’s simply a painting of an Indian Chief with his feather in his hair wearing his regalia.

For this memorial I would like for it to be displayed at an open venue at ODU. Of course President Broderick would have to be informed of such an event.  It’s to give a wake-up call to Americans who forget how this country was truly made. Within the event, there will be other memorials of genocide from other cultures such as the Jewish holocaust, Romania, Bosnia, etc. The event would be considered sad but also informal because many do not have knowledge of such events. Before taking this class, I was only familiar with American Indian genocide with just the basic knowledge of the Jewish holocaust and Hitler. Taking the class opened my eyes to much bloodshed all over the world I had no idea existed. This memorial will present the message calmly but also sternly. This is something that needs to be remembered but many do not care to acknowledge it because it’s the past and has nothing to do with them personally. The audience would be anyone ranging from teenage to adult, it’s going to be built like an art gallery of global genocides. In front of Kaufman mall, similar to how the abortion vs genocide display that comes annually. But, this event will be much better with no comparison to fetal abortions.

This design is wholeheartedly implicit. This design wasn’t intended to be gruesome or harsh. It’s just a simple reminder to those who forget that the American Indians are still here, living day to day struggling on reservations. Struggling to eat, struggling form alcohol and substance abuse because they are literally treated like dog shit. Nobody seems to care for them, yes, Obama expressed a verbal apology but that isn’t enough. What about donating money to the reservations to children and adult can have health care? Building new schools? Getting rid of the alcohol and drugs, helping the American Indians have access to contraception because teen pregnancy rate sky-rocket each year on reservations. They need help to in order get better because they are killing their selves on reservations because they feel like they have nothing to live for. Not all American Indians are on reservations, but a vast majority of them are. They are still living in their personal hell from the government. The government can care less for any minority but the American Indians should have more respect given to them. The American Indians had no choice but to reside on these reservations and try to keep their traditions alive. They were forced to become westernized and lose their customs. They were raped and raised mixed-blood children and then their children become a part of losing their traditions. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped. But, it can’t be done alone, they can’t do it alone. They need help.

It matters because they will continue to suffer and drank themselves to death because of the history their ancestors suffered. They are people too and need help. Most people were relieved from their hell, us African-Americans suffered terrible events as well but we are still thriving in society. We still face racism and mistreatment but it’s not nearly as bad as it was. There are black CEO’s, black musicians, black artists and famous athletes. We aren’t still enslaved on a reservation. Have you heard of an American Indian doing such greatness? Very slim to none. I believe this memorial will help those realize why America is America. People need to be more considerate of those suffering around them. In this life, if it doesn’t concern them it’s irrelevant. All it takes is one person to speak out and make a difference.

 


My name is Ellen Harris, call me “E” for short. I’m 22 years old senior majoring in women’s studies. I have a very open mind and love to learn about new things!