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The Ishka Monument

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Arts , Community , Education , Environment , Peace
Location
South Texas
Cycle Year
2014
Center for Progressive Studies and Culture (Native American Project)
http://ishkamonument.net/webs
Larry Running Turtle Salazar
(361)563-6702
lrunningturtles@aol.com
1929 Yale St
Corpus Christi
TX
78416
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We are building a bronze monument of a Native American holy man in Corpus Christi to mark the second largest American Indian burial site in the state of Texas. We are requesting funds to build a walk way that will encompass the monument in the shape of a traditional medicine wheel which represents the 4 directions as well as every race of people. Funds will also go toward educational graphics that will be placed around the monument to embrace Native American heritage, the environment and Native American history.
Benefits
Building the medicine wheel walkway will encourage people to learn about their Native American heritage which was once suppressed especially here in the state of Texas as well as to inspire all people to learn about Native American traditional ways, keeping them alive. The medicine wheel represents healing and will attract all people of all nations, promoting tolerance and peace
Proposal Description
Our main objective is to build a bronze statue made by the late world renowned sculptor Dave McGary at Hans and Pat Suter Park on Ennis Joslin Rd. The late Dave McGary, has his work displayed all over the world including Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill. This will be a monument to commemorate the 2nd largest and still unmarked burial ground in the State of Texas. The monument will be one and a half times the life size of a Holy Man facing the East, (See attached). The Man is bearing a cross around his neck, and holding an eagle fan while he greets the Holy People as the sun rises and thanks God, or Creator for another day each and every morning. This is very symbolic for Indigenous People and very sacred. This monument will be called “The Ishka Monument”. Ishka is an Apache word that means – “until we meet again” (whether it is in this world or the next). The monument will be placed in the center of a prayer wheel or medicine wheel, which will be made of colored cement for people to walk on. Traditional prayer wheels are composed of red, white, yellow and black and each color represents all 4 directions as well as all human races. Educational graphics will be placed around the wheel to explain the Native traditions as well as about the environment and the inter-relatedness of the earth, all the 4 legged, the winged ones, the ones with fins, the ones that crawl and the ones that fly and of course the 2 legged. The creation of the monument will also generate more interest for Corpus Christi with a sculpture of this caliber. It will also complement the proposed Islander Way Bridge project projected to be completed in 2020 (See attached). This will blend nicely and be a main focal point of interest for Texas A&M University’s proposed project as well as the community as a whole. Commemorate the second largest American Indian burial ground in Texas with the Ishka monument will bring more awareness and pride to the people of Texas. The main burial site was revealed in 1901 after a hurricane washed away part of the terrain and the site, known to archaeologists as 41NU2. It I s located on the corner of Ennis Joslin and Ocean drive. Many remains have also been found throughout the Oso Bay area. The City of Corpus Christi has granted permission for the monument to be placed at the Hans and Pat Suter Park on Ennis Joslin Road which is currently a wildlife park. It is situated on sacred land that was once used for burials, gatherings as well as hunting and fishing grounds. The monument will inspire Native American traditions and tolerance as well as to promote environmental stewardship. It will also serve as an educational tool and a place for spiritual ceremonies keeping Native traditions alive. (See attached) Many people in South Texas, including many members of the Catholic Church in South Texas have American Indian roots. Throughout history, Native Americans have played an important role in the missions of Texas, like the Mission in Goliad and San Jose in San Antonio, to name a few. It was the American Indian, or “the forgotten people” who built these beautiful missions and adopted Catholicism. They played key roles in maintaining these missions and endured many struggles and challenges. Recently, the Catholic Church canonized the first Native American Saint, known as Kateri Tekawia or the Lilly of the Mohawks on October 21, 2012. This is a reflection of Native Americans embracing Catholicism throughout history and how they integrated it into their traditions. This is still true today. Larry Running Turtle Salazar, a devote Catholic, is a prime example. Larry, a “full blood” American Indian (half Apache and half Cherokee), is considered to be an American Indian Holy man and integrates his native teachings with his Catholic faith, because there are so many parallels. Sadly, Texas has been very slow to officially recognize Texas Indians and there are currently no federally recognized tribes of Texas Indians. It is only just recently that the State of Texas has recognized the Lipan Band of Apaches. When the Indian Removal Act of 1830 was instituted by President Andrew Jackson, many Native Americans were forced to blend in and adopt Spanish surnames so they became “Mexicans” in order to survive. For generations, Indians were not allowed to talk about their past and hid their identity to their children out of fear and out of shame. According to Native American traditions, the 7th generation is upon us and things are changing, coming back full circle. It is now time to reveal these people’s true heritage. More and more people here in South Texas are learning that they have American Indian roots. They want to learn and embrace their heritage. We can honor these people, their ancestors that walked this land, and their history by building the Ishka Monument. Larry Running Turtle created the South Texas Alliance of Indigenous People and currently serves as President. He is the face of this organization and a true role model. He conducts various ceremonies, activities and workshops teaching traditional Native American ways. For 10 years he has also spearheaded the Annual March to Bless Sacred Grounds, to honor the ancestors, along Ennis Joslin Rd. This brings the community together and sheds light on the burial sites along the Oso Bay. All of these activities are designed to bring exposure to the proposed monument by generating interest, but most importantly, to bring people of all nations, races and creeds together. The intention of the Ishka Monument is to generate greater awareness of Native American history in the Corpus Christi and surrounding areas. It will also be a place where people can learn more about their heritage and where traditional Native American ceremonies can take place that is easily accessible to all people of all nations. It will also promote environmental awareness, tolerance, respect and above all, peace for all nations. We are requesting $10,000. These funds will allow us to begin construction of the medicine wheel walkway. The medicine wheel is highly symbolic and for the first phase of this construction project we would like to emphasize Native pride and tolerance as we kick off the construction of the monument.