Money shortage

Lack of money may cancel second annual
Native American festival

Money also needed to demolish building
on site of cultural center

By Don Ward

CARROLLTON, Ky. (June 2005) – A members of the Circle of Wisdom Unity Council made a plea for financial help to stage what would be the second annual Native American Festival this August at Gen. Butler State Resort Park. Proceeds from the event would benefit a project announced earlier to build a $2.5 million Kentucky Center for Native American Art & Culture on an 85-acre site at Butler Park. The funding source has not been determined for the center, whose preliminary plans call for a 6,500-square-foot building and outdoor performance area.

Marty Martin

Marty Martin

Marty “Soaring Eagle” Martin of Louisville addressed the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce May 9 during its monthly luncheon meeting at the park. He described the group’s financial difficulty in getting sponsors or money to stage this year’s event and said it would not be held unless more money could be raised. Martin said the local tourism office “is broke” and they cannot get any money from the state, so they have no where else to turn.
Last year’s four-day event was considered a success by attendance standards but failed to cover the cost to stage it, Martin said. Native American groups donated $13,000 to cover the group’s expenses.
“Despite our financial problems, there was a $10,000 economic return to local hotels and restaurants,” Martin estimated, “so the community got something out of it.”
At this point in the season, Martin said the group could still stage a two-day event in August if they can raise $10,000. The dates would be Aug. 12-13.
The Circle of Wisdom Unity Council is comprised of 28 Native American tribes in Kentucky. The council meets quarterly and is involved in many programs, including protecting against grave desecration and handling Native American interments.
In 2003, then-Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton initiated an effort to create the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission. His wife, Judi Patton, has Cherokee ancestry. In April 2004, Gov. Ernie Fletcher signed the bill that authorized the commission with a mission of promoting awareness of the state’s American Indian legacy. Part of its mission has become oversight of a future center at Butler Park at the site that once served as Ski Butler. The group plans to build a cultural center that would house a library, museum, art gallery, gift shop and demonstration area.
“We want a center where we can show and teach people what Native American are like, how they lived, about their beliefs and customs,” Martin said.
The biggest obstacle, however, has been the estimated $75,000 expense of tearing down the former ski lodge, which has been condemned after years of neglect and vandalism.
“We need to get rid of it before we can go forward,” Martin said. “We’re seeking donations or else a company that is willing to tear it down for us.”

• For more information on this project, visit the Kentucky Center for Native American Art & Culture’s website at: www.kcnaac.org.

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