Why Just Do IT?

    The National Folk Festival event was expected to provide a balanced representation of our people, while contributing a unique and valuable cultural experience of our history and existence in Butte and the local surrounding area. We will be proud to provide a unique experience of the rich multi-cultural diversity of Butte’s Native American peoples and feel it is something that must be shared to benefit our society.  We will present our “Native arts & crafts which are the only art indigenous to America”.  It would be a tremendous loss to the entire country’s cultural heritage to lose these traditions.  We are submitting this request for this event to present an exhibition/performance & traditional Native American powwow event during this coming year’s National Folk Festival and the next upcoming 3 years (2009, 2010 & 2011) to follow. Our request for funding is to present an accurate view of our multiculturalism and establish the history of Native American Indians in the Butte Silver Bow area which will culminate in establishing an annual powwow during the height of our tourist season.  We believe this will enhance our local economic and tourism status in the State of Montana as well as the North Western Plains and make Butte a destination location.
    We have nothing available.  The local Butte Archives simply shake their heads and say there is nothing in their holdings on the history of the Native Americans here in Butte Silver Bow.  Yet many historically significant events have taken place in the local vicinity.  Butte is the last encampment site of the migrating Indian's during the settlement onto reservations.  The Butte area hosted the last of the "Indian Wars" in Montana.  We have much to document, preserve, present and embrace of our overlooked history.
    We have received a letter of support from our Chief Executive Officer Paul Babb who represents our local community government.   We have received requests from many of our educators in Butte Silver Bow as they express a need for these resources to assist in the "Education for All" and Title 7 programs for our local students.  Many of our fellow businesses have indicated that it is indeed time for this, as they also believe it will enhance the tourism experience.  Tourists arrive here asking and looking for “something” Native American.  Many local businesses seek this resource and referrals to provide their inquiring customers with information but find it does not yet exist.  The local community as a whole which we have come in contact and communicated with has been in support of our dream.  We believe the need for a repository of holdings bringing our information, research and artifact preservation to our people will met our constitution which mandates Indian Education for All.  We want to help our community comply with this mandate.
    Our local population is approximately 34,000; of this population our Native Americans are the second largest population in Butte; according to the last U.S. Census which provides us with the only census we can rely on.  During the Folk Festival we anticipate tourism in the range of 80,000 to 100,000 according to the festival administration.  A good number of these people will either be Native American or looking for our presentation of this faction of our history.  The Native American history and or existence are hugely sought after from those visitors beyond our local mining community.  
    Our community will be equally enhanced, balanced, and fairly represented to all individuals.  We need our Native Americans to feel a belonging and connection to our past and present.  All of our children, students and community will be afforded the resources mandated by our governing bodies.  Our visitors will view our community in a balanced representation of our true and actual history.   
    Butte Silver Bow received a National Historical Designation recognizing all community concerns with the major exception of the Native American existence.  The designation and supported events fails to bring to light that Native American's are a part of the history of Butte.   We are the second largest population census in Butte.  We believe our communities’ expression for the need of a Native cultural resource creates the desire and importance of us preserving our culture and history.  This will strengthen our community identity by binding citizens to our moral community.  Our objectives include asking our mainstream population for acceptance and to encourage unity among all ethnic groups in Butte so that we all may share in a sense of community and tolerance of all race and religions so that co-existing cultures can interrelate and influence one another.  Indians possessed the very rare ability to accept the “other” cultural identities including the idea that the world was complete thanks to the existence of other beings different from themselves.  When the “others” arrived they were initially taken for the complement to Indian identity.  Although America is considered a “melting pot” tradition co-exists with a belief in national unity; ethic awareness has had many positive consequences which unite our nation. 
    We have the "Indian Education for All", but lack local resources.  The National Folk Festival is coming to our community for the next three years (2008, 2009 & 2010).  However, there are no local resources and/or references that demonstrate any of our Native American Folk Life, Heritage, Culture or contributions to “the richest hill on earth” “in the Big Sky”.  The Native American’s have a rich multi-tribal contribution that precedes the mining “culture” and yet includes the mining and various other historical events.  In time, we anticipate establishing a Native Cultural Resource Center in our community. We would like to institute it for all to serve the community at large so that we may appreciate and share the rich variety of human culture and social life existing in our local neighborhoods.  Our public seeks cultural, social sensitivity, thus appreciates the different forms of knowledge and values that are at the core of ethical practice, policy and research.  To challenge ethnocentrism is to recognize and value differences and qualities that exist in diverse groups.  The positive aspects of a group’s beliefs and practices need to be recognized and promoted. We must encourage diversity as our societies differ from those of our dominant culture.  We have a tendency to look at other cultures through the eyes of one’s own culture, thus engaging in the view that our own group is the center of everything.  We wish to focus on cultural diversity, celebrating ethnic variety, and teaching tolerance in liberal multiculturalism.
    It can be demonstrated that art and culture are intrinsic to communities at all levels.  Art and culture have long been associated with the development of America’s cities and towns and the rich diversity and evolution of neighborhoods and communities.  Art and culture are, in fact, often used to help revitalize and improve the economies of inner cities, suburbs, and rural areas.  Art and culture are also successfully used to help achieve educational goals and ameliorate some of society’s most pressing problems.  Art and culture are more frequently a force for enhancing community identity; making communities more vibrant and prosperous.  We wish to strengthen our cultural activities that build community identity, cohesion and use the arts as a way of addressing pressing social problems in our community to help reduce racial, social tension and help our at-risk population.  We subscribe to the belief of Strengthening Communities Thru Culture.  
    We seek to foster trust and communication between Indigenous and Irish peoples, and to support each other in our causes and struggles.  We are in favor of Indigenous and Irish peoples rights, social justice and freedom for both our nations. We desire to symbolize the America’s quest for equality of racial and ethnic groups co-existing amongst our community. 
    Our community is severely lacking the recognition of Native American's. Our current historical preservation includes: Mining, Irish, Chinese, Finnish, Polish, Italian, the preservation and history of the "Dumas Brothel" is given social status through a Native American Cultural Resource Center in our city, continued funding and support.  An archeological dig resulting in a variety of historical and culturally relevant artifacts and amazing insight into our past received funding and support.   Our students from preschool to the University level will benefit from what we see as a glaring need and absence in our community.  Our tourists and visitors look for and will be enlightened and enriched with a balanced presentation of our actual diverse Native American history and culture here in Butte. 
    We embrace the view that our various cultures in our society merit equal respect, and extend equitable status to distinct cultural and religious groups and recognize the cultural and ethnic diversity within the demographics of our particular social space.  Our nation/state was founded on the principle that each nation is entitled to its own sovereign state and to engender, protect, and preserve our own unique culture and history.  Unity of descent, unity of culture, language and often unity of religion is essential to our nation.  We would be proud to see an awakening of our cultural roots, proclaim the value of our culture and call of the inclusion of our group’s history, culture, and richly varied components. 
    Our event is widely promoted and will be stricktly enforced as an alcohol, drug, and weapon - ZERO TOLERANCE; family and community event.  Full security at all entrances as well as throughout the powwow area will be in effect.  We have vast experience and observations of powwow’s throughout the North Western States.  We want this to be an event that is welcomed in the upcoming years.  


Further Info:  Michele at 406-782-2713, Jack at 208-521-4859 or

Robert at 406-565-9221, 
http://www.aicupowwow.weebly.com , email:
aicupowwow@gmail.com

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