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Inouye's remarks on S. 978

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On Nov. 14, Senator Daniel K. Inouye had taken the floor of the Senate
during final consideration of S. 978. In the Native way, he wasn't thinking
of himself but of others. His remarks are as close to Periclean as American
political oratory ever gets, and as such they are quoted at length:

"When history records this event, the names of illustrious members of
Congress will undoubtedly be honored, in the manner that history
customarily treats events of this kind. All of us know that a measure of
this magnitude entails the concerted effort of many people, some of whom
are major contributors and some who are less important. And so while we are
engaged in making a record at this moment, I am going to take the dangerous
step of singling out a few people who deserve to be recognized, a group
that does not include any member of the Congress.

"First and foremost are the sometimes forgotten people - the Indian people.
Without them, we would not be celebrating this great event. It is their
extraordinary talent and magnificent works that we will honor - their art,
their music, their culture, their religion, their scholarly works, their
beauty, and their sensitivity will be forever memorialized in this great
museum. The names of Indian artists known only to the creator will be
commemorated in this memorial to American Indians.

"Second, I want to commend those who collected and guarded this collection
so carefully over the years, and preserved it so well, that it will be
capable of being enjoyed and appreciated by generations to come. Ms. Julie
Kidd and her foundation, the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, with
no fanfare and at times even abuse, kept the collection alive for many
years. The sometimes maligned curator of the Museum of the American Indian,
Dr. Roland Force, whose care and concern for the Heye Collection was both
personal and professional.

"Ms. Suzan Shown Harjo, in her dual role as executive director of the
National Congress of the American Indian and as a member of the American
Indian Heye Foundation, played a key and vital role in working with
Smithsonian Secretary Adams to effect a resolution to the sensitive and
significant matter of the repatriation of the human remains of Native
Americans that are currently in the possession of the Smithsonian
Institution. Mr. Walter Echo-Hawk of the Native American Rights Fund is
also to be commended for the role he played in resolving the repatriation
issue with the Smithsonian."

Inouye went on to reference a handful of other names that should be
remembered on Sept. 21, 2004, among them Diane Mulcahy Coffey of the
mayoral office in New York, "whose perseverance and whose vision that this
museum could become a reality, and that any obstacle could be surmounted in
achieving this goal was inspiring"; Pamela Mann, also from New York, and
her "great skills in negotiating a resolution to the legal issues"; New
York attorney general Robert Abrams, "whose political leadership enabled a
breakthrough at a time of impasse in negotiations"; David Rockefeller and
his assistant, Peter Johnson, both of whom "facilitated so many important
meetings in New York" (interestingly, Nelson Rockefeller first came up with
the suggestion of placing a Museum of the American Indian on the National
Mall, but the idea lay dormant for years afterward); Edward Costikyan,
attorney for the Museum of the American Indian-Heye Foundation trustees;
and Dale Snape, a lobbyist "whose indefatigable efforts helped to resolve
the insoluble, and who was one of the best sources of information that the
parties in interest relied upon throughout the long days of negotiation."

In view of repeated recent remarks as to the national museum's "feminine"
presence on a Mall otherwise dominated by sharp angles and great weights of
marble and granite, it only remains to add that Roland Force considered
five women the ultimate dealmakers in the critical years between 1987, when
Inouye offered S. 1722, and 1989, when the museum's enabling legislation
took final shape:

"Their combined efforts were critical in the final negotiations. During
1988 and 1989 they worked closely to hammer out an acceptable legislative
formula that would satisfy the MAI, the Smithsonian, Senator Inouye and the
city and state of New York. The city and state were represented by [New
York] Mayor [Ed] Koch's Chief of Staff, Diane Coffey, and by Nan Stockholm,
legislative assistant to Senator [Daniel Patrick] Moynihan. Dr. Pat Zell
represented Senator Inouye and Margaret Gaynor, an assistant to Adams,
represented the Smithsonian. The MAI was represented by Chairman Julie
Kidd.

"They held frequent meetings and talked regularly by phone. They were good
negotiators and achieved an acceptable solution, not an easy thing."