By A.P. 2-03-2020
True culture brings a new birth of consciousness, the revelation of a new path, and the spiritual fulfillment.
Our project is a Monument-Museum of Native American Cultures that we developed in response to the growing sense of social injustice in American Indian history. In terms of content, this project primarily reflects the longing of the Indigenous soul, the cultural and spiritual visions, and the dreams of Native American people.
Spirituality rooted in Native American cultures was chosen as the basis of the Manument-Museum of Native American Cultures (MMNAC) because it is the heart of the Native people, the last unexplored and unconquerable territory of the New World. It is a place that no one can own, but that everyone can experience. It is thanks to this frontier of spiritual cultures and the strength of the faith and traditions of their ancestors that the Indigenous people survived the darkest periods of Native American history. And now, we believe it is time for the rest of the world to share in this important, spiritual wealth and historical memory of Genocide of Native American.
The MMNAC has two major goals:
- To connect visitors to the past of this land, the lives of the Indigenous people, and the inner genesis and beauty of their natural cultures.
- To raise awareness about the tragic past of the Indigenous people that will inspire visitors with a spirit of compassion that promises the courage and humanity to never let such a tragedy happen again.
THE PROJECT LOCATION:
In our vision we are assuming to locate this project in Grand Canyon National Park, near Grand Canyon Village, Arizona which is one of the very important sacred sites of Native American people, especially for the Havasupai, Hopi, and Hualapai tribes, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Las Vegas Band of Paiute Indians, Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and the Navajo Nation.
From the very onset, the contemporary MMNAC was designed with the aim to represent the spiritual cultures of the Native American people. Every aspect of the forms and shapes of its architecture has been designed with purpose and symbolism, aiming to use every single of the building’s approximately 170,000-square-feet to embody the Native American spirit at the highest level.
Designing the MMNAC as an embodiment of the Native Spiritual world has been and continues to be an endless, challenging process of development and redevelopment, magnification and minimization, expansion and reduction, birth and death. There is no real “finish line” to reach. This is because if we put a definitive, reachable end to the process, we will have simultaneously drawn a box around something that is limitless. But this is impossible. The truth is that we will have drawn a box around our own perception of the limitless, and therefore will have lost it entirely. This is the danger that comes with representing the spiritual through the physical, and we all too often lose the eternal value of various cultures because of this objectification. Thus, refusing to fall to the same dilemma, we have always remembered that the MMNAC is a symbol for something far larger than its scope, and we have continued to try to improve its design every day, to the best of our ability.
However, with the incredible importance of the subject at hand, we also know that our time is limited. If we are to be honest, this kind of a museum was needed over 70 years ago. Native American cultures were subject to demonization, objectification, and ridicule for centuries since the beginning of American Colonization, and although it appears that our American culture is moving past demonization and ridicule in large part, the problem of objectification has yet to be addressed.
The time for the western world to reevaluate what it thinks it knows about Native American cultures is long overdue. Thus, we feel it is our duty to bring the MMNAC to the world sooner rather than later.
The MMNAC will feature artistic visions and philosophical ideas for the courts and yards, landscaping and interior design, exhibitions and installations, etc. Therefore, we will reach out to the most talented Indigenous anthropologists, writers, historians, artists, sculptors, artisans, museologists, designers, and volunteers from every tribe to join in the creative process of this monumental project.
Through the MMNAC, we are committed to fostering a relationship of mutual growth and understanding between American Indigenous cultures, art, and philosophy and audiences, aiming to make a positive contribution to local communities, to Native American cultures and art, and to American culture in general.
In this effort to bring awareness to the public, we also strive to deconstruct any erroneous views of Native American cultures that have been accumulated and perpetuated over history through European colonial demonization, misrepresentation, misinterpretation, and outright ignorance. At the personal, micro level, these views have made it difficult to foster important connections between individuals of different cultures. Massively multiplied on a national scale, this led to the centuries of genocide, alienation, and discrimination against the Native American people.
We understand the magnitude of this challenge, however, we also understand the ultimate reward for overcoming it: a true, undeniable connection that will give birth to respect and compassion for a misunderstood people and their cultures. We believe in the language of art, one of the great universal languages, and through it, we will create the bridge over the gaps in understanding, bringing the rich fruits of Native cultures to the open hearts of people worldwide.
The future of Native Americans primarily depends on themselves, their spiritual energy, their creative power, and their Indigenous consciousness. Nature is the foundation of the life of the Indigenous people while spiritual cultures are the structure of their being. Preserving cultures is as natural and necessary as preserving nature. Therefore, through this project, nature and the spiritual cultures of the Native American people will be elevated to an unprecedented level and presented in the light of the Native American Spirit.
We seek the blessings, participation, and support of this project from the leaders of all the Native American tribes.
In 2009, the rudimentary presentation of the idea of this project was published in “Indian Country Today”. It has undergone continuous changes since then, and is now ready to move on to the next step. We look forward to your support.
Director of the project concept & architectural design: Paul Poloz
Special thanks to contributors:
Carlo Hawk Walker – an Elder of the Western Cherokee Nation
Simon J. Ortiz – an Acoma Pueblo Indian, poet and writer
William Penn, Professor of Michigan State University, Native American Writer
James A. Brown, professor emeritus at NWU