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KIC Representatives Attend Opening
of National Museum of the American Indian


September 29, 2004

jpg American Museum of American Indian

Surrounded by trees and a wetlands area, the main entrance of the NMAI is sheltered by an overhanging roof with curvilinear forms that evoke natural rock formations. Photo courtesy U.S.State Dept. Photo by Janine Sides


Ketchikan, Alaska - Thousands of Native people and non-native supporters from throughout the Western Hemisphere, many in traditional clothing, joined in the "Nation's Procession" to celebrate the week-long opening of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington D. C. this month. Among the Tribal leaders present were Ketchikan Indian Community (KIC) President Stephanie Rainwater-Sande and two members of the KIC Tribal Council. KIC Vice President Merle Hawkins and KIC Treasurer Sam Bergeron also attended these important ceremonies.

The Museum's opening at the heart of the nation's capital signifies a long and overdue cultural reconciliation between those who were here already and those who came later. President Rainwater-Sande stated, "The opening of the Museum was a colorful, emotional and triumphant milestone in our long-standing quest for national recognition."

Council member Sam Bergeron said, "I was honored and thrilled to be there it was a once in a lifetime experience". He continued, "There are over 400 monuments in Washington D.C. and this is the first that honors Native Americans." 

KIC President Rainwater-Sande received an invitation from the White House to a Tribal Leader's breakfast with President George W. Bush, along with Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who was instrumental in the establishment and funding for the Museum while he was in Congress. Campbell, who is the only American Indian currently serving in the U.S. Senate, has been a tireless advocate and friend to the tribes. He is retiring from the Senate after this year. Rainwater-Sande stated that meeting President Bush, Secretary of Interior Gale Norton, Senator Lisa Murkowski and others was "a great opportunity to build relationships with those whom KIC works with on the many federal issues that affect our tribal member's lives."

Vice-President Hawkins, for her part, spent a good deal of time meeting with other tribal officials from throughout the nation on topics such as subsistence. Ms. Hawkins said, "This was a unique opportunity to witness government-to-government relationships in an inter-tribal sense as well as with the United States government."

KIC delegates also met with representatives from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, The National Cooperative Bank, senior staff from Alaska Representative Don Young's office to discuss KIC's programs, funding, and future. 



President George W. Bush and KIC President Rainwater-Sande

Source of News:

Ketchikan Indian Community
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