PHOENIX – After 10 years, 30 nominees and decades of discovery, the first National Native American Hall of Fame will induct 12 honorees in October. Arizona’s Lori Piestewa, the first Native American woman to die in combat as a member of U.S. military, is among those who will be celebrated.
Many of the inductees, such as Olympic star Jim Thorpe, astronaut John Herrington and Maria Tallchief, the first Native American to be a prima ballerina, are well known and have been lauded with awards and honors.
But something was still missing, said James Parker Shield, a member of the Chippewa Tribe and chief executive of the Native American Hall of Fame, who dreamed of the hall for a decade.
There’s a National Women’s Hall of Fame and others honoring various groups, he said.
“But there’s no hall of fame for Native Americans, and I think that there should be,” Shield said.
Harvard professor Phil Deloria, the first tenured Harvard professor of Native American history and the son of author Vine Deloria, one of the inductees, said Shield’s work is valuable.