As the White American and English Canadian cultures once tapped and "trapped" the territories of the Native American to amass considerable wealth and power, and of course to take by force the Indian's lands, NOW is the time for Native Americans to reverse the "process" and gain wealth, respect and political "clout" by taking advantage of the current "Indian is In" mood sought after so strongly by the affluent middle-America.
From environment to Art and Religion, white culture is now regretting the mistakes of the past and are perceiving their world crumbling. Many long for things that reflect upon values of the old ways.
The Tribes, especially the ones with Casinos as financial bases, are in a unique position of having services that are sought by the surrounding communities, and by expanding their base to include Cultural, Arts and Education, the potential of vast numbers of dollars flowing into Tribal coffers is considerable.
As proof of this, one need only look at the University of Idaho; they offer accredited courses in Shoshone Language. Every where Colleges are offering various courses in Environmental awareness, History, Crafts and Arts that frequently encompass Indian Culture. We cannot relive the past, but Indian Culture can help organize the future.
I propose a combination OFF CAMPUS CULTURAL ART CENTER, located upon Indian grounds and managed by Tribal Leadership.
Such an establishment would provide courses on a "Live in Basis" on the Campus during Summer and teach a wide spectrum of accredited courses such as Basket Weaving, Pottery, Sand Painting, Drumming, Dancing, Brain Tanning, Bead working, Moccasin making, Wood Carving, Pipe Making, Totem Carving, Canoe making, Religion, Environmental Studies, Social and Economic courses and respect for all Nature.
Art is a multi Million Dollar Industry, especially for the dealers and managers of the works and the Artists. One has only to look to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the vast Millions in Indian Arts. If you incorporated Western Arts with Indian Arts, the market potential is nation wide. The main need there is a Hotel or Motel.
I taught a total of 850 people the Art or Craft of Woodcarving, depending on their skills, for Western Washington State Teachers College, now Called Western Washington University at Bellingham, Washington. They provided extension courses in off Campus Evening and Summer courses for a number of years.
All Teachers MUST take courses of their choosing to accrue additional Credits to maintain their Teaching Certificates, therefore most Universities are interested in such courses.
Those people who do not require Credits, but are looking for subjects of interest also sign up for such courses, usually through Community Colleges.
The few subjects that I have mentioned would cause quite a stir, and would drag people from far away distances to sign up. This fact is proven in Banff, Alberta, Canada where the Summer courses attract people from the all over the North American continent.
The facilities needed could make the program a real "Grabber". In Summer, a circle of Tee Pee Lodges for sleeping quarters, a KOA style laundry, toilets and showers, a circle of logs around a Council fire for the evening DRUM.
It wouldn't be a real SUN DANCE, but the people signed up would pretend it was and be delighted to pay for the mystic privilege. The opportunity is there to story tell, and advance the cultural enhancement.
Additional Classes, such as ones needing shelter and perhaps a work area for wood carving, Stone pipe carving etc., could be held in a Traditional Long House style building with rustic exterior for atmosphere, but a well built structure so as to keep out wind and rain.
Just think of an evening outside Salmon Bake. Other classes could be held in quarters set aside in the Hotel structure.
The Indian Northwest Arts Council is trying to hold gatherings of Artists and their works for display and sale in downtown Portland. They are finding out that the only ones who will profit and wish to return year after year are the already successful Artists. The Hotel will profit tremendously but the Artists won't.
If One was to look at the Charlie Russell Western Art Show in Great Falls, Montana each 17th of March (St. Patrick's Day) one would see one of the most successful Art shows in the Nation. In spite of the lousy snow and ice covered roads, people flock to Great Falls by the thousands.
This show is put on totally by LOCALS. The airport about the Motel housing the exhibits is filled with Aircraft representing very wealthy clients; some merely send agents to purchase in their place.
It is a Black Tie, invitational Champagne event to start and then open to the Public. An Indian Casino Hotel could utilize this Format and really draw from all over the Nation.
I firmly belief that the Schooling, Art Shows, Cultural Exhibits and Studies would set the Tribal Sponsors up as Civic leaders with all the respect and political "clout" most groups long for and seldom achieve.
The jobs represented for the Tribesmen would be tremendous, as I feel that all art galleries and such would be managed by members of the tribes.
What is needed mainly is an agreement between the Tribe and University whose students desire additional credits.
Grandfather Coyote has sent the White Buffalo Woman and things are now turning around for Native Americans, as promised. The time is now.
This concept can go on considerably longer, but I feel that those of you on the Council can evaluate the potential from what has been said herein.
Should you need a testimonial of my intends and works, look to "Sam" Henny, a Grand Rhonde Tribal Member and Smoke Marchand, Director of Planning, Colville Rez (509)634-8869.
I respectfully submit this for your consideration,
Tha-ho, Art "INYO" McKellips.