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Wanblee, South Dakota - Oglala Lakota Nation - March 5, 2012 She is 92 and standing in the road blocking the trucks carryning segments for the keystone xl pi...
TO BE BUILT ON STAEN ISLAND, AN IDEA IS BORN
May 12,1909 at New York City’s fashionable Sherry’s restaurant; Rodman Wanamaker hosts a dinner party to honor Colonel William Cody. Many prominent citizens and representatives of the press attend. At the dinner Mr. Wanamaker proposes that a monument be erected to a dying race, “the North American Indian”
On June 26, 1909 Mr. Wanamaker sends a letter to the president William H , Taft, about building the memorial.
THE MONUMENT IDEA TAKES ON A LIFE OF ITS OWN
Mr. Wanamaker then turned to Congress enlisting the aid of West Virginia’s Senator Nathan Scott. The Senator convinced Congress to place the monument on federal land. This land is now known as Fort Wadsworth.
Mr. Wanamaker, joined the American Indian policy reform movement and worked in earnest towards the building of a National Indian Memorial. Mr. Wanamaker, was also convinced, as was much of his generation, that the Indian was fast approaching extinction. So he financed expeditions to collect fact, artifacts and movie film of doomed people before they slipped into oblivion.
THE INDIAN MONUMENT LAW IS ENACTED
On December8,1911, Congress brought forth an act: Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That there be erected, without expense the to “United States Government” by Mr. Wanamaker of New York and others on a United States reservation a suitable memorial to the memory of the North American Indian. The Bill was then signed into law by President William H. Taft
PLACEMENT AND DESGN
The team of Thomas Hastings architect and Daniel Chester French sculpture come up with a plan for the monument.
On March10, 1910 General Leonard Wood finally selected the front portion of Fort Tompkins. The highest rampart within the Fort Wadsworth complex on Staten Island (the same structure that today houses a military museum) at the mouth of the New York Harbor.
On April 27, 1912, the Federal Commission of Fine Arts approved both the structure and location.
THE SIZE OF THE MONUMENT
The monuments dimensions were impressively set. The bronze Indian figure stood at sixty feet. The dominant feature of the sculpture indicates the abandonment of war and the acceptance of peace. This was shown by the left hand hanging at full length with a bow and arrow in it. While the right hand was up lifted palm facing forward with two fingers extended to the sky. Signifying the Indians universal sign for peace. The statue stood on top of a seventy foot high pedestal. The pedestal stood on top of the thirty five foot tall museum located at the upper most rampart of Fort Wadsworth. Thus rising over 300 feet from the water. This would have been higher than the Statue of Liberty.
HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS, EVENTS AND ARTIFACTS.
Wanamaker along with photographer Joseph K. Dixon set out on three expeditions to reach out to all the tribes. During the first two expeditions there were many photos taken of the tribes and their lives. There were also two motion pictures filmed Hiawatha and Battle of the Little Big Horn. A book “The Vanishing Race” was published chronicling the event. On third expedition the “Expedition of Citizenship” an American flag and The Declaration of Allegiance was carried to all tribes. The document was the only one in history to be signed by all tribes and lead to the Native Americans gaining citizenship. The Buffalo nickel was also minted for the ground breaking event and was given out to the 32 to chiefs and other dignitaries that attended. On February 22nd 1913 President Taft, 32 Chiefs from many tribes and other dignitaries broke ground at Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island NY where the monument was to placed.
PROBLEMS THAT PLAGUED THE MONUMENT
Daniel Chester French departed to work on the Panama Canal Charles Moore’s poignant criticism of the monument by a member of the Commission of Fine Arts “Ungainly Indian on the roof of a Greek Temple” Rodman Wanamaker diverted most of his finances to the war. Then age and sickness took its effect on him. There were several other attempts through the years but the Statue has not yet to be built.
HISTORY COMING FULL CIRCLE
The purpose and meaning of the monument would be much different now than it was in the early 1900’s, and even more important. The race of proud people that the statue was attended for has not vanished and is still here. There are many statues and monuments honoring many different races and people through history but non to honor the first people of this great land. The American Indian’s have endured many broken promises and treaties. The “Declaration of Allegiance” can still be honored and the Statue built. There for completing the circle of history.
We are looking for Local & National Support from the Public at Large, Artist, Musicians, Politicians, Congressman, Congresswomen, Senators, State Officials and all who is interested etc… in developing the Statue for the Ground Breaking Ceremony in Staten Island New York at Fort Wadsworth in 2013, 100th year Anniversary of the initial Act of Congress signing it into law. For more information contact Mr. or Mrs. Boldeagle at Redstorm Drum and Dance Troupe.
Please send your letters of support on letterhead signed, dated, and if possible notarized to the following address.
New York, NY
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