My visit to the Heard Museum.
I recommend visiting the Heard Museum in Phoenix if you are at all interested in Native American culture. There are many fabulous displays of Indian art, memorabilia, customs, and history. The most important and impactful part of my visit was learning more about the Indian Boarding Schools. Many of these schools opened in the mid 1800's through the early 1900's, the first being in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Their purpose, simply stated, was to "civilize" or "europeanize" the children of the "savages."
One particularly moving display was a barber chair, long black hair on the floor, and a quote on the wall reading in part "We'd lost our hair and we'd lost our clothes; with the two we'd lost our identity as Indians." The image of the hair under the barber chair and that quote will stay with me forever.
The Heard Museum has good parking, a nice restaurant and wonderful shops.
In Willowtree Bruce wonders why so many Indians have common English first names for last names, two first names, like Robert Peters, or Ben Samuel.
I admit when writing about that I did no research, only made an observation. After learning some of what happened at the boarding schools, I did look into the origin of these names. One interesting account from the superintendent of a school for Crow in Montana can be found at this link from the Library at the University of Virginia. http://bit.ly/SfuND6
Frank Terry, the superintendent, not an Indian but coincidentally having two first names, gives insight into this naming and renaming of Indians for their benefit, which, of course, means for the White Man's ease in keeping track of them. He says frontiersmen chose to give them "uncouth" names like Jim, Sam, or Pete as their last name. Later, authorities changed to "more stately names" as James, Samuel, or Peters.