Posts tagged with "remembrance"

Melvin Sampson illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Remembering Melvin Sampson

By Hannah DiPilato

Melvin Sampson was a leader throughout his life and was dedicated to fighting for the rights of indigenous people. Before his passing, he was a tribal councilman that pushed for Native American’s rights. 

Some of his most monumental efforts include helping to establish the Indian National Finals Rodeo, assisting in the improvement of health care for Native Americans across the nation, advocating for the construction of the Yakama Nation Indian Health Services clinic west of Toppenish and pushing to improve fish restoration in the Yakima and Columbia basins.

Sampson passed in his home on December 11 at 82-years-old and left behind his wife, Betty Jean and his four daughters. He will be remembered by his big family of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Sampson’s full obituary can be found on Heggies Colonial Funeral Home’s website and anyone is able to leave thoughts, prayers and condolences for Sampson’s loved ones. People can also send flowers or a virtual gift and share photos and videos, a beautiful way to share remembrance amidst the pandemic. 

“He’s bigger than the Yakama Nation,” said Yakama General Council Chairman Roger Fiander, who grew up beside Sampson. “Besides that, he was my roping partner.”

Sampson’s legacy of helping to gain rights for Native Americans will live on for generations. Hopefully, many more people will follow in his footsteps to preserve tribal culture. 

Sampson was an advocate of better healthcare for Native Americans for 17 years while he served on the National Indian Health Board. He also helped form the Portland Area Indian Health Board, which monitors the federal administration of Indian health services in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. 

In Washington D.C., Sampson was at the head of an effort to gain funding for a new Indian Health Clinic. Eventually, his efforts led to an expansion of the clinic which expanded it into a facility of over 80,000 square feet. 

Sampson also wanted to improve fish rearing practices in the Yakama and Columbia basins in order to help the fish that lived there. With Sampson in charge, the Yakama Nation gained control of the Klickitat Hatchery which is found on the Klickitat river outside of Glendale. This hatchery was designed to rebuild the population of salmon by mimicking the natural habitat system that fish thrive in. 

Everyone that knew Sampson believed he was a born leader. He had a diverse understanding of tribal culture and government which allowed him to make many changes in his lifetime. George Waters, a lobbyist for the tribe in Washington, D.C., said that Sampson was just a person able to operate in different worlds. 

He was able to create many amazing things such as doing leatherwork and beginning a shop in his basement. Sampson can also be remembered for his forward-thinking ways that were ahead of his time. 

Irving Pinkham, another childhood friend of Sampson, said that Sampson cared for everyone and always wanted to help indigenous people. “In our way, nobody is better than anyone else and that’s what he believed too,” Pinkham said. “He never was a person who said ‘I, I did this, I did that.’ He was always a person who said ‘We, we did this, we did that.’ “

Sampson’s perseverance and ability to understand people helped him become a success in many aspects of his life. He was able to improve healthcare and the way of life for those around him and his legacy will be seen in all of the work he accomplished over his lifetime.

DVF illustration by Kaelin Felix for 360 magazine

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Last week, The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum reached more than 1,000 supporters and raised nearly $3 million during their eleventh annual “What You Do Matters” New York Tribute Event. This event is held in support of the Museum’s critical role as a living memorial to the Holocaust. This year, fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg served as master of ceremonies for the event’s inaugural virtual platform.

Von Furstenberg shared her personal connection to the Holocaust and the Museum, “As a daughter of a Holocaust survivor, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is especially personal to me. … My mother used to tell me, ‘God saved me so that I gave you life. By giving you life, you gave me my life back, you are my torch of freedom.’”

Von Furstenberg’s mother was arrested in occupied Belgium in 1944 when she was just 21 years old and was transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where she spent 13 months as a forced laborer, surviving at a mere 49 pounds. Her daughter was born nine months later despite doctors’ warnings of the impossibility of a safe pregnancy.

“I have been involved in the Museum since its inception,” Von Furstenberg said. “When you think about the moment we are living now – the enormity of changes and challenges – remember this history and its lessons about the fragility of freedom, the nature of hate and the consequences of indifference could not be more relevant…We have to make sure that everybody remembers. To remember is to give voice to the six million that were silenced.”

During the virtual event, celebrities including Jason Alexander, Jamie Lee Curtis, David Eigenberg, Morgan Freeman, Camryn Manheim, Tim Matheson and Daniela Ruah read excerpts from the Museum’s collections, giving voice to the victims of the Holocaust, and participated in the Museum’s pledge to Holocaust survivors to never forget.

The New York virtual tribute event also featured an interview with 100-year-old Benjamin Ferencz, the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor, and the Museum’s partner in the Ferencz International Justice Initiative.  Ferencz said that in order to have a better and more peaceful world than the one he’s witnessed, the slogan “never give up” must be added to his well-known philosophy of “law not war.”

Photograph of Diane von Furstenberg and her mother, next to live shot of Diane von Furstenberg
Photograph of Diane von Furstenberg and her mother, next to live shot of Diane von Furstenberg
Ben Ferencz and Naomi Kikoler, Director, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide
Ben Ferencz and Naomi Kikoler, Director, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide