Ancient Mysteries Revealed: Groundbreaking Spiro Exhibition to Debut at The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
The Spiro site contained one of the greatest collections of prehistoric American Indian artifacts ever discovered in the United States.
The Spiro Mounds are one of the United States’ most important ancient Native American sites, as well as an archaeological find unmatched in modern times. Yet, despite creating a sophisticated ancient culture, the Spiro people are nearly forgotten in the pages of history books. How did these incredible works of art and other treasures from all over North America end up hidden for hundreds of years, and why? Opening February 12, 2021 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, “Spiro and the Art of the Mississippian World” will seek to answer these questions and more in the first major presentation on the Spiro Mounds ever undertaken by a museum, representing the first, and possibly last, time these artifacts will be reunited from various collections across the country.
“We are incredibly pleased to announce this unparalleled exhibition, which will give proper honor and representation to the culture and historical impact of the Spiro people,” said Natalie Shirley, The Cowboy president and CEO. “Our staff has worked for years to create a world-class, exciting and collaborative presentation of a people who have been overlooked for too long.”
This exhibition will share the art, history and culture of the Spiro people through approx. 175 objects, as well as an accompanying publication, website, public symposium and panel discussion. It was created in collaboration with representatives from the Caddo and Wichita Nations, the descendants of the Spiroan people, and with contributions by 17 humanities scholars from nearly a dozen universities and museums from across the United States.
The Spiro Mounds were the location of one of the largest and longest episodes of looting at any American archaeological site in history—comparable to that of Mesa Verde in Colorado and, sadly, several others across the country. Both looting and New Deal/Works Progress Administration (WPA) archaeological excavations came together in a near-perfect storm at Spiro. In 1935, the public’s imagination was peaked when the Kansas City Star called the site’s discovery a “King Tut’s Tomb in the Arkansas Valley,” and identified it as the greatest source of Mississippian iconographic material ever found. Embossed copper plates, wooden sculptures, thousands of pearls and beads, large human effigy pipes and engraved shell gorgets and cups are just some of the items found at Spiro. In fact, nearly 90% of all known engraved shell created during the Mississippian period (900 – 1650 AD) was discovered at this one site. This exhibition will include the reunification of a range of items looted and archaeologically excavated at Spiro that have not been together since the early 1930s and 1940s.
“The quality and quantity of material found at Spiro is unprecedented,” said Eric Singleton, Ph.D., Museum Curator of Ethnology. “We are grateful to have the support of the Spiroan descendants, the Caddo Nation and the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, as we prepare this exhibition. Without them, this exhibition would not be possible.”
The Spiroan people, along with other Mississippian groups across the eastern half of North America, created a world equal to that of the Aztec, Maya or Inca, consisting of trade networks and highly developed social, political and religious centers. The exhibition will explore the archaeology and history of Spiro and its relationship to other contemporaneous Indigenous communities in North and Central America, highlighting community development, religious and ceremonial activities, farming and hunting practices and daily life. It will also illustrate how ecological factors, specifically the occurrence of the “Little Ice Age” beginning in 1350 AD and lasting until 1650 AD may have led to the site’s decline and ultimate abandonment. The exhibition also showcases contemporary Indigenous art pieces that explore the ideas of origin and connect the art and artistry of the Spiro people to their modern descendants.
Following the exhibition, the online component and educational materials will be available on the Museum’s website and in our permanent Native American gallery. In addition, the Museum will give both the Caddo and Wichita Nations all interpretative materials to use at their discretion in their respective tribal museums.
The exhibition will debut at National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum February 12 – May 9, 2021, before traveling to the Birmingham Museum of Art (October 5, 2021 – March 11, 2022) in Birmingham Alabama, and the Dallas Museum of Art (April 15, 2022 – August 5, 2022), in Dallas Texas.
Visit Spiro Mounds for more information, including photos, maps and a calendar of associated programming.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
About the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City is America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture. Founded in 1955, the Museum collects, preserves and exhibits an internationally renowned collection of Western art and artifacts while sponsoring dynamic educational programs to stimulate interest in the enduring legacy of the American West. For more information, visit the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
A comprehensive report of the continuation and influx of unjustified treatment towards minorities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
February 23: 25-year-old Georgia resident Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot while running unarmed. No arrests were made immediately, but Gregory and Travis McMichael, who claim to have been making a citizen’s arrest, have since been apprehended more than 2 months after the shooting and charged with murder and aggravated assault. The murder and its delayed action have sparked nationwide protests and calls for justice. The lawyer, hired by Ahmaud’s family, was also hired by another African American victim – Breonna Taylor.
March 13: Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her Louisville home after police entered the house on a search warrant. Taylor and her boyfriend believed they were burglars and began firing at the police. The shootout left 26-year-old Taylor dead and her boyfriend, 27, arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer. Neither Taylor nor her boyfriend Walker had a criminal record, but Walker had a firearm license.
March 23: A newly released video shows a 68-year-old black Missouri woman by the name of Marvia Gray and her son Derek being forcefully arrested on the floor of a department store on March 23rd. The two were accused falsely of trying to steal a television and were injured when thrown on the floor by police, according to Gray. They were however, arrested for assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.
April 11: Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot on Sunday afternoon during a traffic stop. When Wright was pulled over, officers were attempting to handcuff him when the subject broke free and jumped into the driver’s seat. Officer Kim Potter threatened to tase him, yelling “Taser!” three times before shooting Wright. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said, “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.” On Monday evening, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner reported that Wright died due to a gunshot wound to his chest. Potter resigned from the police department on Tuesday, and has now been arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter.
April 18: Steven Taylor, 33, was shot to death by police in a California Walmart while attempting to steal from the store and threatening violent acts with a baseball bat. Taylor was fatally shot, however, after becoming a non-threat, it prompted the family to call for charges against the officers. Taylor was also allegedly in a mental health crisis and has a history of disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Taylor leaves behind three children and three siblings.
April 21: A 42-year-old Black man, Andrew Brown Jr., was shot by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies in Elizabethtown just before 8:30 am. A private autopsy conducted by Brown’s family has revealed that he was shot five times, and was killed by a bullet blow to his head. The Pasquotank County sheriff claims that the deputies were conducting an arrest warrant on drug charges when Brown was shot. A local prosecutor claims Brown was trying to escape and had hit deputies with his car. The Brown family lawyer claims that Brown’s hands were on the wheel when he was shot, and says that Brown had no drugs or weapons in his vehicle. The family has not yet seen a search warrant from the Department, and the F.B.I. is opening a civil rights investigation into the case.
A clergy march in Elizabeth honoring Brown will take place on Saturday, May 8 at 11am. The march will be led by Bishop William J. Barber (President of Repairers of the Breach, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival former moderator with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)) II and Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman (an elder with the AME Zion Church and former president of the N.C. Council of Churches), both of whom will lead a march of interfaith and interdenominational clergy. A public rally and news conference will follow the clergy march and begin at 11:30am. Clergy members are to meet at 10:30 am at 299 US Highway 158 N., in front of the old Elizabeth City Middle School. The clergy march is set to lead to the Pasquotank County Courthouse, where the public rally will be held. For more info, please visit this website.
April 24: Austin Police murdered 42-year old Michael Ramos after a nearby 911 call about a possible drug deal. The police shot Ramos when he was out of his car, with his hands above his head. When Ramos re-entered his vehicle and began driving away, he was shot again and soon after, died. A later investigation found no sign of a firearm in the car.
April 28: A shootout with police in Florida killed 26-year-oldJonas Joseph after his car was pulled over. Joseph began firing at police, who returned fire and killed the young man.
May 6: 21-year-old Sean Reed was killed by police following a vehicle pursuit on the evening of May 6, 2020. The police pursued Reed after being seen driving erratically on the highway. The pursuit terminated, but when Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Assistant Chief Chris Bailey spotted the car parked, he approached. Reed tried to flee, but the confrontation left the young man dead. A crowd of protestors at the scene demanded the reasoning for the officer’s use of force.
May 9: 48-year-old Adrian Medeariswas killed after being pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Houston. The officer conducted a sobriety test, and attempted to arrest Medearis, a well-known local Gospel singer and choir director, but he resisted arrest and was fatally shot in the ensuing altercation. His family and community are demanding the release of the video.
May 18: A Sarasota police officer was filmed using excessive force and kneeling on Patrick Carroll’s neck during an arrest. The video was put on social media and the officer in question has been put on administrative leave weeks after the event.
May 25: A woman named Amy Cooper called the cops on Christian Cooper, a Harvard alumnus and former Marvel Comics editor. The 57-year-old man was bird watching in Central Park when she approached him without her dog on the leash. After he asked her to put the dog on a leash, she called the police and claimed to be threatened. The altercation went viral after Christian Cooper posted a video of the event on social media, recording the woman aggressively restraining her dog and her saying, “I’m going to tell them [the police] there’s an African American man threatening my life.” Amy Cooper has since publicly apologized. But, Cooper has faced repercussions beyond negative comments on Twitter. She has been fired from her job at Franklin Templeton Investments, where she was vice president, and her dog has been rescued by a pet shelter.
May 25th: a Minneapolis man named George Floyd was murdered by police after an officer knelt on his neck despite his cries for help. Floyd was taken to a hospital where he died, and four officers were fired soon after the incident. A police statement says that Floyd was being investigated for a “forgery in progress” and resisted arrest. But, surveillance video of the arrest shows Floyd complying with the officers. On May 29th, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged with murder and manslaughter, four days after George Floyd’s death. On June 3rd, the other three officers involved in George Floyd’s murder, J.A. Keung, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, were arrested and charged with Aiding and Abetting Second Degree Murder and Aiding and Abetting Second Degree Manslaughter. Floyd’s murder sparked protests around the country with citizens looting and setting fire to buildings. The protestors have been met with tear gas and rubber bullets from police officers.
May 28: At a protest in Minneapolis, 43-year-old Calvin L. Horton Jr. was fatally shot and a suspect is in custody.
A Mississippi cop is on leave after a video is released of him choking a young suspect.
May 29: CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested while reporting on the protest in Minneapolis. Meanwhile, another CNN reporter, Josh Campbell, says he was treated very differently by police and allowed to stay and report. Jimenez is black and Latino whereas Campbell is white. All three CNN workers were released from custody an hour later.
21-year-old Javar Harrell was not protesting but was fatally shot near protests in Detroit. It is unclear if his death is tied to protests.
May 30: The “Rally To End Modern Day Lynching” took place in Harlem in honor of George Floyd. The rally emphasizes that participants should still practice social distancing and wear a mask. Also on May 30th, participants will honor Floyd at the site of Eric Garner‘s murder in 2014. These New York protests became progressively more violent into the evening. Governor Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency and curfew for Atlanta in preparation for planned protests on May 31st. After four days of protests, Governor Newsom declares a state of emergency in Los Angeles. The courthouse and city hall were set on fire in Nashville.
A 21-year old unnamed man was fatally shot at a protest in Detroit.
In Dallas, a machete-yielding storeowner confronted protesters and was then violently beaten by the crowd; the man is now in stable condition.
Chris Beaty, 38, was killed from multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene in Indianapolis.
May 31: After setting fires and looting in Santa Monica, the city declared a curfew. Curfews have since been set all around the country.
Italia Kelly, 22, and another victim were fatally shot while leaving a protest in Davenport, Iowa.
In Victorville, CA, Malcolm Harsch, 38, was found hanging from a tree and authorities are investigating the event as a potential homicide. Harsch’s family says they are very skeptical of his death being by suicide.
June 1: In Minneapolis, a group of men attacked Iyanna Dior, a black transgender woman; Dior is okay and in stable condition now.
53-year-old David McAtee was shot as national Guard troops and Louisville police broke up a protest; some footage shows McAtee shooting at police but it is unclear who fired their guns first because the officers involved did not activate their body cameras. The Louisville Metro Police Chief, Steve Conrad, was immediately fired because of the officers’ unactivated cameras.
16-year-old Jahmel Leach was tased in the face by NYPD and could be permanently disfigured from the attack. It is unclear why the police officers used force to arrest Leach.
June 2: Six Atlanta police officers have been fired and arrested for using excessive force towards Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim, two young black people leaving the protests.
77-year-old David Dorn, a retired St. Louis police captain, was fatally shot by looters of a pawnshop after responding to an alarm.
June 4: At 3:45pm, NAACP holds a moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of George Floyd live on their Twitter.
June 5: All 57 members of the Buffalo Police Department’s emergency response team resigned in protest for police brutality – particularly seen in a video of Buffalo police pushing an unarmed man.
Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigns from the company’s board and urges the company to replace his spot with a black candidate.
In a YouTube video, Robert L. Johnson, the first black American billionaire and co-founder of BET, talks to The Breakfast Club about racism and reparations.
20-year-old Dounya Zayer was violently shoved by a police officer at a protest in Brooklyn, NY.
June 6: Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand pledge $100 million donation over the next 10 years to organizations promoting social justice and racial equality.
A video shows protestors creating a human shield to protect NYPD officers fro rioters throwing objects at the policemen.
June 7: Virginia governor plans to remove Robert E. Lee statue later this week.
CEO of CrossFit Greg Glassman’s insensitive tweet about George Floyd has caused Glassman to face serious backlash. Partners of CrossFit, like Reebok or Rogue Fitness, and athletes, including Brooke Wells and Richard Froning, released statements that they will cut ties with CrossFit.
BLM protestors in Bristol pull down statue of Edward Colton, a slave trader who transported nearly 100,000 slaves in the 17th century.
Harry H. Rogers drove into a group of protestors near Richmond, Virginia. Rogers identifies as the leader of the Ku Klux Klan and prosecutors are investigating the assault as a potential hate crime.
June 8: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces police reform legislation called The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 which would ban chokeholds, establish a national database to track police misconduct, and more.
Minneapolis City Council announce plans to defund the Minneapolis police department.
GoFundMe suspends Candace Owens’ account saying that Owens, “spread hate, discrimination, intolerance and falsehoods against the black community.”
June 9: Greg Glassman, the CEO and founder of CrossFit, retires after his inappropriate tweet about George Floyd’s murder.
New York Police Chief Mike O’Meara shames the press for vilifying police officers in a video here.
June 10: In Palmdale, CA, 24-year-old black man named Robert Fuller, was found hanging from a tree in what was originally described as an apparent suicide. Citizens are demanding that Fuller’s death is investigated as a homicide.
June 11: After Trump’s comments about Seattle protestors being “domestic terrorists” and that law enforcement must “dominate the streets” to “take back Seattle,” Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan clarifies that the protestors are not threatening and that the president’s claims are unconstitutional.
June 12: Atlanta police fatally shot Rayshard Brooks, 27, at a Wendy’s drive-thru. Brooks’ murder caused Atlanta police chief Erika Shields to resign.
The officer who shot Brooks was Garrett Rolfe. Rolfe was terminated from his job one day after the shooting, but as of Wednesday, he was reinstated to his position. Atlanta’s Civil Service Board reinstated the officer because they found that Rolfe’s firing violated his due process rights. It is not being argued whether the shooting was justified, but rather if the proper firing procedures had been followed regarding the officer’s dismissal. At a board hearing on April 22, lawyer Allegra Lawrence-Hardy argues that “immediate dismal” of an employee “impairs the effectiveness of others.” However, despite being reinstated, Rolfe will remain on administrative leave until his murder and aggravated assault charges regarding the June 12 shooting are resolved.
June 13: Patrick Hutchinson, a black personal trainer from London, rescued ‘far-right’ protester who was badly beaten during protest clashes in London.
A young, black FedEx driver named Brandon Brackins turned to social media to tell his followers how he was called racial slurs while working.
June 16: A story resurfaces from 2006 when black, Buffalo, NY cop Cariol Horne was fired for stopping her white colleague from choking a handcuffed suspect.
Philadelphia court supervisor Michael Henkel is fired after video shows him tearing down BLM signs.
June 17: Quaker Oats plans to retire their Aunt Jemima branding and logo after acknowledging the racial stereotyping.
June 18: A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy fatally shot 18-year-old Andres Guardado.
June 20: Rioters storm the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma during President Trump’s rally.
June 21: A NYPD officer is on unpaid suspension after a chokehold incident in Queens.
June 22: Department of Justice is investigating a noose found in Bubba Wallace‘s NASCAR garage. Wallace is the only black driver in NASCAR’s top circuit. On June 23, the FBI determines that Wallace was not the target of a hate crime.
August 23: Jacob Blake is shot by Kenosha police officers after breaking up a nearby fight that two other women were having. Blake was unarmed and shot seven times in the back. He is currently hospitalized for his injuries.
December 5: Lt. Caron Nazario, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, is suing two of the Town of Windsor police officers who conducted his traffic stop. Nazario is a Black and Latino man who was pulled over whilst wearing his uniform. He is requesting at least $1 million in damage costs and is looking for the court to rule that the officers violated his human rights, especially regarding the Fourth Amendment. He was pulled over by Officer Daniel Crocker and Joe Gutierrez, who exercised knee-strikes, deployed OC spray, and took the Nazario’s gun in what his attorney, Jonathan Arthur, classifies as an illegal search. In body camera footage, Gutierrez can be overheard telling Nazario that if he had just complied, he would have “been gone by now” and threatened that the charges against Nazario could impact his career in the army, if Nazario complained about the incident. By threatening Nazario’s career, his attorney says that Crocker and Gutierrez violated the subject’s First Amendment Rights.
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Los Angeles residents continue their demand for racial equality
Breonna Taylor, a Louisville EMT, would have turned 27 years old on June 5th. Instead, on March 13th, Ms. Taylor was shot 8 times while asleep after police officers entered her home without knocking. The young woman was not forgotten at Friday evening’s LA protest. The administrators of the march passionately expressed how this case of police brutality is emblematic of the chronic racial inequality which has defined the US criminal justice system since the nation’s conception.
The atmosphere of the march was boisterous. The Five Stairsteps’ “O-o-h Child” played at the event and defined the hope for a better future omnipresent with lines like, “things are gonna get easier… things are gonna get brighter.” Protestors fed off each others’ energies with chants of “No Justice, No Peace,” “Whose streets? Our streets,” mixed with an eclectic concoction of cheers. Indeed, the emphatic beeps of car horns, the banging of pots and pans from apartments above the street, and a sea of signs created a powerful spirit that, in the moment, felt indomitable.
One of the most inspiring aspects of the protest was the mélange of ethnicities in attendance. The multicolored faces of the crowds formed a microcosm of America – a new America. This diverse movement circled downtown Los Angeles, walking past boarded-up businesses that still bore the scars of previous nights. Much to the credit of the protest’s organizers, they were determined to reject the vandalism that had wounded the essence of the movement’s message earlier in the week. They wished to emulate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s tactics of non-violence, aspiring to make progress in King’s fight that must still advocated for.
At several points throughout the protest attendees were asked to take a knee. The profound purpose of this act was revealed at the conclusion of the event. “It’s uncomfortable isn’t it?” asked one protest organizer stuttering on her own passion, “Well imagine what it felt like for George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds!” Her vehemence echoed throughout the crowd as applause ruptured the silence of intent listening.
As the California sun dipped below the horizon, thousands ascended upon City Hall where a vanguard of LAPD lined the entrance. The protestors were nourished by a plethora of free snacks provided by supportive local vendors. The march culminated with a moving tribute to Ms. Taylor on the steps of City Hall. Here, the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to yet another martyr of the African American community in what appears to be an endless struggle for equality. Stories like Breonna Taylor’s tell a hauntingly familiar tale of racism in our country, and these injustices haven’t ceased during quarantine. The 360 Magazine “Minority Report” details all of the acts of racial inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The crowd was rife with enthusiasm for change but there was also a portentous understanding that this is not the last march for justice. However, the prevailing attitude was one of passion in hope that, despite the brutality of US history, America has finally reached a social crescendo free of the injustice that has characterized the country’s nascence.
So, what does all this mean? Well, the protestors and organizers were eager to proclaim a sizeable achievement they have garnered thanks to this movement. One of which is LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s revision of the proposed city budget. In this revision, $150 million from the LAPD will be diverted towards healthcare, jobs, and education opportunities in communities of color. It is unclear whether stripping funds from the police will make the streets safer for people of color, yet protestors saw this as a victory for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The push to reduce police power will undoubtedly clash with President Trump’s call for “law and order.” Trump’s adoption of the infamous Nixonian verbiage and allusions to “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” has inflamed tensions in Los Angeles. In general, the president’s responses to BLM movements have done little to soothe California’s most populous city. A city, that only 28 years ago, was the epicenter of mayhem after a jury acquitted four police officers of using excessive force against black LA resident Rodney King. Thus, almost 30 years after the Rodney King riots and 50 years after the civil rights movement, one is still left wondering: do Americans trust law enforcement?
Amidst the massive outbreak of protests and riots in numerous cities and communities in the United States, the Bronx, NYC experienced severe looting Monday night. For the most part, there were peaceful protestors in this community during the day, but when the sun went down, the looters remained the dominant group in the streets past curfew. Much of the looting consisted of vandalizing and stealing from businesses, buildings, and other assets in the streets.
Prior to Monday night, most of the looting had occurred in Manhatten and Brooklyn, consisting of robbing and destroying large commercial stores and chains. However, PIX 11 claims that as the looting appeared in the Bronx, smaller businesses began to take much more of a hit. Trash fires broke out along Fordham Road and left many business owners trying to clean up as much as they could the morning after. Fordham Road, being one of the most central and commercial streets in all of the Bronx, experienced more and more looting as the night progressed (Bronx Times). According to Bronx News 12, several police officers have been injured Monday night, resulting in a collective act to try to limit the ever-growing looting behavior.
In an effort to prevent more looting from happening, New York City officials have changed the curfew time from 11 PM to now 8 PM. Additionally, officers have arrested approximately 200 looters just from Monday night.
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