The Indian Country Today
  Salmon Restoration Environmental Protection Saving A Language "We Will Still Be Indians" Preparing For The Tricentennial, 2104-2106  


Preparing for the Tricentennial, 2104-2106

American Indians have occupied their homelands for more than 10,000 years. By the time the Corps of Discovery traveled up the Missouri two centuries ago, 400 generations of Native people had already made their lives in this beautiful country.

Aspects of the Indian country live on today. Deeply-held community beliefs regarding treaties, the environment, tribal languages, and tribal traditions offer compelling proof that the cardinal values of ancient Native Americans—respect for creation, an ethic of generosity, and loyalty to community life—have endured through decades of change.

This persistence of the Indian country calls American citizens to view the Lewis and Clark expedition in a new light. It helps make clear that the members of the Corps of Discovery were successful because they learned from the many new communities they encountered. They failed when the friendships and promises made on that expedition and afterward, the ties forged between people from different cultures, were forgotten, ignored, or broken.

We hope visitors to this exhibition will look forward from the bicentennial years and consider this new perspective on American history. We hope you will not lose your admiration for the achievements of the past, but that you will also reflect upon the occasions when Americans have fallen short. The next hundred years will determine how much of the promise of the Corps of Discovery’s journey we can fulfill.

We leave you with five questions that will measure our success or failure.

“Will we still believe in our distinctive Indian identities?”

-Fred Baker

“Will we speak our tribal languages?”

- Darrell Kipp

“Will the United States continue to uphold our treaties so that we can continue to celebrate the gift of salmon?”

- Marjorie Waheneka

“Will all Americans join us as we speak on behalf of the earth?”

- Otis Half Moon

“Will Indian art forms continue to inspire both Native Americans and others?"

- Pat Courtney Gold