The recent and unfortunate allegations in the Washington Post related to inappropriate personal, business and financial transactions of former National Museum of the American Indian Director W. Richard West Jr. is disappointing. West, one of our 21st century warriors, has been forced to join the ridiculous and gossipy tabloid ranks of uneducated persons. Indigenous people have endured enough, and our heap is solidly filled with criticism, racism, fanaticism and many more 'isms' than we care to identify or share.
The Washington Post cannot rewrite our history. The National Museum of the American Indian is our beautiful story; and our story, in a class all its own, is rewritten with each visit to the museum. We know that our grandfathers and grandmothers endured so that we could live and tell our own story; and the Washington Post has transformed into another type of trickster in order to distract or to dissuade our people
In the spirit of forgiveness and understanding, I will file my copy of the Washington Post article, West's rebuttal and the first-hand accounts written by his professional peers so that my grandchildren will be armed with written proof and knowledge that in any generation, indigenous people must never let our guard down and must understand the responsibility and the honor of counting coup.
- Francine R. Wise