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#1 Jefferson's West, Bicentennial Inaugural

January 18, 2003
Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia

Monticello and the University of Virginia hosted the event at Thomas Jefferson’s home in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The event commemorated the 200th anniversary of President Jefferson’s letter to Congress requesting funds to launch a “scientific” expedition in search of the fabled Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean, establish diplomatic relations with and collect ethnographic details about the West’s Native inhabitants.

More than 200 tribal representatives from 21 tribal nations participated.

Tribal programming includes:

Commencement Ceremony of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commemoration: Tribal flag procession, Honor Song, poem Homeland by Monacan poet Karenne Wood, invocation, tribal remarks and presentations, Kenneth Branham (Chief, Monacan Nation), American Indian Society Color Guard, White Shield Singers (Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation), Tex G. Hall (Chairman, Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation; National Congress of American Indians), and others.

In Our Own Words – Voices of Virginia Indians: Film on the history and culture of Virginia’s 8 state-recognized tribes: Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Mattaponi, Monacan, Nansemond, Pamunkey, Rappahannock, Upper Mattaponi.

First Flute: Our Role on the Hoop of Life: Kevin Locke (Lakota).

Respecting Ancient Lives and Sacred Places: a panel of contemporary warriors fighting to protect America’s first treasures discusses the modern crisis of sacred site violation on the Lewis & Clark Trail. The discussion is moderated by George Horse Capture (Gros Ventre/A’ainin), author, lecturer, senior counselor to the National Museum of the American Indian. Panelists from Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Monacan Nation, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Blackfoot Confederacy, Wanapum Tribe, Nez Perce Tribe.

American Indian Voices: a panel of tribal bicentennial leaders offers indigenous perspectives on Native life after Lewis and Clark and on the bicentennial commemoration. The panel is moderated by Gerard Baker (Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation), Superintendent of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail and Corps of Discovery II. Panelists from Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Gros Ventre-Assiniboine Tribes of the Fort Belknap Indian Community, Nez Perce Tribe, Cowlitz Tribe, Chinook Tribe, Monacan Nation.

Many Nations – Many Voices: Panel exhibit created by the Circle of Tribal Advisors about Indian survival since the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Cultural demonstrations by representatives from COTA member tribes.

Chinook Canoe Exhibition: A traditional Chinook canoe, carved by Chinook elder George Lagergren.

Framing the West at Monticello: Original and reproductions of Indian artifacts owned by Thomas Jefferson.

Honoring the Legacy: Native American Art and the 19th Century American West: University of Virginia Museum.

Up From the Earth: The Mandan Way of Life: Virginia Discovery Museum exhibition on the culture of the Mandans as it existed in 1804.

Corps of Discovery II: 200 Years to the Future is launched by the National Park Service and hosted by Monticello. Chief Cliff Snider (Chinook), a direct descendant of Chief Comcomley who met Lewis & Clark at the mouth of the Columbia, is the first speaker in Corps II’s Tent of Many Voices.