Wednesday, May 3

Heard That

There was nothing there for me, or I should say - my term paper project. Only scant few pots and baskets from the correct time period, pre-history.

The Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix is the crown jewel of the city, and oozes influence and generosity: donated benches, lovely tiled plazas, state of the art exhibit rooms, and treasured items for display - every brass plaque polished and anxious to promote the name of each benefactor - duly noted. However, the names were all Anglo.

Not one room or hallway or stairwell dedicated to Yazzie, Tetsosie, Nez or Yellowknife. All the docents and tour guides were also White. The patrons lunching on the cafe patio were White, in fact, the only non-Whites I observed were a school bus driver and a woman with a dust mop and a uniform.

The exhibits were pretty predictable, sterile and nauseatingly tourist-oriented. It was a huge disappointment until I finally located an exhibit way off the main beat. It portrayed the boarding school era wherein the Federal Government detirmined to "civilize" the "savage". A topic I have studied, I was relieved to see a fair representation as one progressed deeper into the well designed exhibit areas. It is not politically correct to discuss Indians who actually loved the opportunity to learn and experience "outside" life, and even excell as many did in the 100 year history of the boarding school evolution.

I think the mark of real progress will be the day that one of their names will be featured prominately on a marble column or new elevator shaft...just kidding. They don't need a plaque. But apparently some White people do.