annual festival at Butler Park
to benefit future cultural center
Helen E. McKinney
CARROLLTON, Ky. (April 2006) Bruce Brading
is one of many who hope to establish a permanent repository for Native
Americans in Carrollton. By educating the general public to a way of
life Native Americans have known for centuries, Brading hopes to acquire
funding for a huge resource center to be built on the grounds of Gen.
Butler State Resort Park.
The Kentucky Center for Native American Arts and Culture Inc. has been
in the works for several years. In an effort to produce funding, Butler
Park will be the host site for the third annual Native American Indian
Benefit Pow-wow. In addition to the park, the Circle of Wisdom Unity
Conference Inc. also sponsors this event.
The benefit pow-wow will be held on April 29-30. Grand entry times are
noon and 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon Sunday. New to this years pow-wow
will be Grey Squirrel (Emory H. Perkins) of Georgia. He will set up
five complete early encampments for display and demonstration.
No actual period artifacts will be displayed for fear of using grave
desecration items, said Brading. Family heirlooms will be on loan as
well as the display of modern replicas by contemporary Native American
craftsmen. We want to know the history, where the items came from
and any family folklore stories, said Brading.
A big draw to the pow-wow will be the Native American Indian Heritage
Museum, or Mobile Museum. Brading said this educational tool has traveled
to more than 40 libraries in the last two years. It has been to the
Census Bureau of Kentucky and Indiana, and to countless university campuses.
On Feb. 10, while the Mobile Museum was set up at Northern Kentucky
University, a milestone was reached. The museum has been visited by
50,000 people. This years pow-wow will also benefit the museum.
One entire wall of the Mobile Museum contains pictures of local Native
Americans from the Carrollton community, he said. Brading would like
to see the local community participate, in addition to more children
in the weekend pow-wow. Plans call for a School Day program for next
Last year, the Native American Indian Benefit Pow-wow made enough money
to donate more than $4,000 to the cultural center project. This year,
the Carroll County Tourism board has contributed $6,000 in support of
The board is behind this project, said Sarah Oak, tourism
director. Board members voted to approve the money. They can review
grant applications and can approve or deny funding.
The tourism board is supportive of the center project because of the
economic impact this would have on Carrollton, said Oak. Members justified
support based on the educational value and the way in which it would
aid local businesses.
It will be a new draw for the community, said Oak. She hopes
that when completed, the center will bring in people from neighboring
states and school groups, to learn more about Kentuckys vast Native
Several grants are in the works by the centers board members,
but $18.5 million is still needed. After driving around the state of
Kentucky in search of land on which to build the center, the group was
given 86 acres at Butler Park. The property is the former Ski Butler
lodge. The lease had been dropped on the acreage and the property was
not being used.
Brading contacted then-governors wife, Judy Patton, for help.
At the time, Patton was chairwoman of the Kentucky Native American Commission,
a separate organization from the Unity Conference. Brading sat on Legal
and Legislative Committees at the time he spoke with Patton.
Patton, knowing that there was a large amount of unused land within
the state park system, suggested locating a piece of property with no
designs for the future.
The infrastructure was already there, said Brading of the
roads, water and electric hookup. The center would like to retain a
natural, pristine atmosphere, although some areas are already developed.
Patton got the project accomplished and signed the lease along with
her husband, Gov. Paul Patton. About a month after Gov. Ernie Fletcher
took office, he held a press conference with the Kentucky Native American
Commission and the center board and re-signed the same lease, said Brading.
Brading is thrilled to have all three signatures on the document and
to have the pen that was used for this historical moment. He hopes to
display the pen in a glass case once the museum opens. It was a tool
of modern-day history in the making.
This was the first time the U.S. government gave back to the Native
Americans, said Brading. Most states limit Native American history
within the state boundaries, he said. This center is not just
for Kentucky, but is in Kentucky.
Affiliated tribes that were indigenous to the state boundaries will
also be represented in the museum. Native Americans did not live
by boundaries, said Brading.
Carrollton was chosen because of its close proximity to many major highways.
Its centrally located and within the territory inhabited by Native
The first step is to tear down the former ski lodge. Brading would like
to see public and private ceremonial grounds and a nature trail installed
at the center.
For more information on the pow-wow or
cultural center project, contact Bruce Brading at (502) 532-7290 or
Marty Martin at (502) 966-9049.
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