Oneida, NY - Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative and CEO of Nation Enterprises, and members of the Nation’s Council today presented a $1 million check to Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, DC.
Local museum cultural and educational leaders attended the event to learn about the National Museum of the American Indian and its role in educating the public about the rich history and culture of the American Indian nations across the country.
“We are honored to be joined by the Director of the National Museum of the American Indian,” stated Halbritter. “Not only can you travel to Washington to visit the museum and learn about the rich history of American Indians, you can also travel to places like the Oneida homelands to see the future of native people. He added, “We are proud to be able to take one more important step today toward our $10 million contribution. Even during difficult economic times, we understand that preserving our history and teaching future generations about our past remains our most solemn responsibility.”
Halbritter noted, “The National Museum of the American Indian, like the Smithsonian’s Museum for African American History and Culture and the nearby Holocaust Museum, ensure that we never erase, forget, or rewrite our collective history. These museums give visitors an accurate portrayal of our history – both good and bad. They allow us to feel pride in our ancestors and help prevent us from making the some of the same mistakes we’ve made throughout history.”
The Nation’s exhibit at NMAI, ”Allies in War, Partners in Peace,” is a bronze statue that sits on the fourth floor of the museum and depicts the friendship forged during the Revolutionary War between the Oneida Nation and the United States. The 19-foot, 2,200 lb. statue, designed by noted Utah-based sculptor Edward Hlavka, represents Oneida Chief Shenendoah and an Oneida woman, Polly Cooper, along with Gen. George Washington. The Oneidas fought alongside the colonists as allies at the important Revolutionary War Battles at Oriskany (NY) and Saratoga (NY), as well as carrying their corn hundreds of miles to help Washington’s starving troops at Valley Forge.