Oklahoma or Bust: Native American Museum

As many of my loyal readers know I work at a tribal casino in the Spokane area called Northern Quest. What most of you don’t know is I have a bit of native blood in me—Cherokee to be exact. My great grandmother on my Grandpa Easley side was half Cherokee, which puts me at 1/16th. Obviously it’s not nearly enough to qualify for any registration benefits and all that it may encompass, but I’m very proud of this fact nonetheless. 

When Sandra asked me in December to list all the places I wished to visit, the American Indian Museum was on that list. I had heard about it and wanted to see it firsthand. The day following our visit to the National Memorial, she drove me to this place, which is actually called First Americans Museum and Cultural Center. 

Rain had come and gone overnight leaving the day windy and raw, actually feeling more winter-like than the days prior. We walked about the outside looking for the entrance and found it a small ways up. It’s hard for me to describe exactly what it looked like but suffice to say it reminded me of a lodge or round house where a tribe would have had their ceremonial events including pow-wows when the weather was less than hospitable. 

There was also a festival area outside and mounds that were dedicated to the very first inhabitants whose archeological sites were discovered in the Ohio River valley in present day Kentucky. After paying the ticket agents we walked along the perimeter of the building and to a room where a variety of drums were exhibited. Each drum had a story to tell. Each one individually painted with a variety of symbols and 1animals such as the eagle and the buffalo. Saundra wanted to take pictures but one of the guides told her that wasn’t allowed. 

Afterwards we went to the Tribal Nations Gallery that showed the myths and legends of their origins, from the water or under the ground or through animals such as coyote, fish, snake, eagle or buffalo. Each and every tribe has an origins story to tell just as we Christians believe in creation occurring in six days from the Book of Genesis. 

The tour continued into the realm of history that took us from before the white settlers came here from Europe, to their westward expansion that caused much hardship and misery among the Native peoples, to the Reservation implementation that forced the White Anglos’ ways, religion, and language into their psyche by way of educating—indoctrinating and assimilating them into white man society, to the present day of demanding and getting their versions of self-governing and preserving their cultural ways of living. 

We spent the better part of three hour’s inside the museum learning more than I could ever regurgitate back to you. Suffice to say, I felt more enlightened and equally more proud being a white American than I was before entering First American Museum and Cultural Center.  

It’s motto is “One Place, Many Nations.” 

Published by Jerry Schellhammer

Jerry, a published author of both published and self-published books, is devoting his time and efforts to his craft after having retired from the previous job as a janitor at Northern Quest Resort and Casino. He now calls Gooding, Idaho his home. Writing is his passion and he now has a successfully published book and another on the way to being published later this year. He has a BA in English with emphasis in professional writing from Washington State University. His website: www.jerryschellhammer.com is available for everyone to see. In it are the lists of published books available both through Amazon and Barnes & Noble in eBook and print format.

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