Rick West Speaks about American Indian Culture, History

Article excerpt

"I'd like to share with you some of the past and some of present as it relates to American Indian culture and society," remarked Rick West, this year's Congressional City Conference Celebrate Diversity Breakfast keynote speaker. West is the founding director of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), a new museum of the Smithsonian Institution.

West's remarks centered on the rich history and contributions of many of the early American Indian civilizations in North America.

He discussed and contrasted the achievements of the early American Indians with European civilizations that were emerging during similar time periods.

In terms of present day American Indians in the U.S., West stated that the majority of the various American Indian populations are now in cities rather than in rural areas.

He said that it is important to work with organizations like the National League of Cities because of many common linkages to NLC's mission and the changing demographics of American Indians.

"This capacity for seeing the world as a whole could have an impact on striving communities," said West. "It is a reminder that goodness and richness enhance our diversity."

Founded and sponsored by the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO), the breakfast is jointly cosponsored by all of the groups including Women in Municipal Government, the University Communities Caucus, the Hispanic Elected Local Officials, the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Local Officials and the Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials. …