July 20, 2012

Cultural center at Crazy Horse Memorial

From the Native Sun News by way of Indianz.com:

Crazy Horse Memorial offers cultural education

By David ArredondoThe Crazy Horse Memorial may be a main attraction for millions of tourists every year, but visitors can leave the monument with more than just amazing sightseeing memories–and with a better understanding of different cultures.

People arrive in the masses during the summer to the in-progress monument, the world’s largest mountain carving, and are encouraged to visit the Native American Educational & Cultural Center, a wood-and-rock-walled building where artists from around the country set up vending booths with their elegant works of art. Completed in 1996, the rocks used in constructing the center were blasted from Thunderhead Mountain, the site on which the monument sits.

Around a dozen mostly Native American artists and crafters gather daily in the Educational & Cultural Center to sell, as well as demonstrate, their skills. The artisans’ work includes traditional quillwork and beadwork as well as traditional regalia, jewelry, silverwork and painted pieces.

Along with purchasing their art, fascinated tourists can visit each booth for the opportunity to chat one-on-one with the vendors–who are not employed by Crazy Horse–about their cultures, customs, art and other relevant issues.

“I think the vendors add immeasurably to the experience of the visitors,” said Pat Dobbs, media relations coordinator and general spokesman for Crazy Horse Memorial. “The visitors can have an informal conversation with the vendors and learn about customs without any book or lecturing.”
Comment:  Having just visited this location, I was less impressed than Arredondo. The room is off to one side, separate from the main building. I suspect a lot of visitors miss it. I doubt there were a dozen vendors the day I was there. And vendors sitting quietly behind their tables doesn't encourage a lot of questions or conversation.

To do this right, you'd put more of displays in the side room and vendors in the main room. You'd have Natives actively demonstrating their craft, perhaps teaching classes to kids. And not just sitting behind tables like vendors everywhere.

This isn't a criticism of the vendors, but of the menorial's management. "Educational & Cultural Center" is a glorified name for what's really an isolated vendor area. If the Memorial's goal is education, then educate. Don't just offer space to sell art; pay people to make art so visitors can see the process.

For more on the Crazy Horse Memorial, see Mixed Feelings About Crazy Horse Memorial and 21st Native Americans' Day at Crazy Horse.


David Arredondo said...

Hey, this is David Arredondo, the writer of the original article. I don't appreciate you using my actual researched work to showcase your own opinion and agenda. There are many other ways to get the word about the cultural center at Crazy Horse than "dissecting" my article.
And on another note, I will be contacting Native Sun News and letting them know about their material being republished because I highly doubt that they gave you permission to use their publication to suit your own interests.
Good day.

Rob said...

Since I was there in person, my position isn't just an "opinion." It's based on the evidence of my own eyes.

I can't tell if you're upset because I posted a brief excerpt of your article or because I "dissected" it. Because those are two different things.

In any case, this posting is protected by the fair-use provision of the copyright law. It's a perfect example of the concept--exactly the kind of criticism or commentary fair use was invented to protect.

If you're unclear on what the law says, read it and learn:


17 USC § 107 -- Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.