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Submitting on behalf of my uncle, David BrownEagle:
My name is David BrownEagle, spokan tribal member. Phonetically we didn’t have capital letters so ‘old’ spelling of spokan aka spoqin.
It is my understanding, as limited as it is, based on seeing and reading of the proposed statue to honor Spokan Garry. I won’t go into the history of what I understand of this man, what he accomplished, what he went through, and how he stood and how he was treated. His spirit I believe honors us all.
If the information is incorrect I apologize to Jamie SiJohn and Barry Ellison. I understand that Jamie SiJohn, a Spokane tribal member, came up with a concept and approached the architect Barry Ellison, Land Expressions, and they developed what is the now proposed statue.
So as a Spokane tribal member Jamie had an idea, a concept and brought it forward. That understanding puts a different spin on it for me. I guess it would be beneficial to anyone who has a concern to hear what Jamie´s concept is.
For me and my imagination, after I heard this I then saw the circle as the sun rising and setting and the basalt columns as old spirit warriors/Indians. This to me is a good representation. The basalt has been around forever. We, as an indigenous people, our creation stories tell us we have been here forever and prior to this existence are the animals – forever. And in that time many sunrises and sunsets.
Just a quick not on the basalt - remember the basalt between the e-w interstate heading west? It was in the state manual or some regulation that something of this nature shouldn´t be there (???) so the state directed whomever that this natural structure should be removed...removed from where this natural formation stood forever. EVEN before the state regulations!!
So with my own thought on this than maybe that is the reason for the basalt columns. The purpose and intent was to remove us but we still stand...we are still here…forever.
And I acknowledge and respect each of your voices. Your opinion matters. Lem lemsh thank you.
Kevin, thank you for your clarification as well as your continuous effort to bring awareness to the community about this issue.
Regardless if the submissions were official or not, tribal officials should have still considered one of their own before settling on a design such as the proposed one.
I agree with previous tribal members who have posted comments. As a Spokan tribal member, I, as well as other relatives, had not seen or heard of this design prior to this article. We did, however, see the proposed designs of George Flett, George Hill, and Ric Gendron released last year. To me, this just looks like all of the other pieces of abstract art that are within the parks around Spokane. One who views these pieces, will likely just think that it’s another piece by whoever constructed all the others, and not immediately see any connection at all with the tribe that the city was named after.
It was a common understanding that the final decision on the replacement of Chief Garry’s statue would be a collective vote of the members of the Spokan Tribe. What happened to this vote? How many people contributed to the final decision of this “art installation” that “reflects the spirit of Chief Garry”? Besides the lack of a shared opinion on the final piece, what about the many people who kindly donated their time and dollars to the replacement? Would they have done so, had they known it was going to simply be another piece created by a white man that doesn’t truly reflect the spirit of Chief Garry or the Spokan tribe as a whole? Has this decision really brought a happy end among area Indians and the general public? It doesn’t look like it…Barbara Gongyin, Spokan Tribal Member (P.S. We are not misspelling Spokan ~ the traditional spelling does not include the “e”).
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