A Place To Bring The Tribe

The guiding vision at a major new museum is entirely Native American

George Gustav Heye was a whimsically self-indulgent New York City banker who plowed his millions into a massive collection of American Indian objects. He discovered his life's mission as a 23-year-old engineering graduate of Columbia University, working as a railroad-construction superintendent in Kingman, Ariz. It was 1897, a moment--after American soldiers had killed Sitting Bull, massacred hundreds at Wounded Knee and captured Geronimo--when the white conflict with Native Americans was at last almost entirely decided in the settlers' favor. Indians were beginning their final transition in the white imagination from serious competitors to something like endangered species, figures who could be...

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