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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Allies In War, Partners In Peace
by press release

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian has dedicated new enhancements to “Allies in War, Partners in Peace,” a monumental bronze sculpture -- already a visitor favorite -- which commemorates the alliance between the Oneida Indian Nation and the United States during the American Revolution.

Allies in War, Partners in Peace
Pictured left to right: Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Council; Kevin Gover, Director, National Museum of the American Indian; Dr. Wilson Stephens, Oneida Indian Nation; Brian Patterson, Oneida Indian Nation Council.

The Oneida Indian Nation donated the bronze statue to commemorate the opening of the museum in 2004. Created by Edward Hlavka from St, George, Utah, “Allies in Peace, Partners in War,” stands 20’ feet tall and weighs 1,925lbs. George Washington stands alongside the Oneida diplomat, Oskanondonha, or Skenandoah, and Polly Cooper--an Oneida woman who came to the aid of Washington’s troops at Valley Forge in 1777-78. With the Oneida Nation’s continued support, the museum has installed an interpretive surround, enhancing the storytelling of the historic alliance with light, sound, and projected imagery.

"This enhanced interpretation provides an immersive experience for visitors to understand this country’s rich history, so that there is a deeper understanding of the nuance, texture and depth of that history — an understanding that goes beyond the two-dimensional stories that too often oversimplify how this great country was founded,” said Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises CEO. “This exhibit commemorates the friendship that was forged between the Oneida Nation and the United States during the Revolutionary War, as well as the incredible sacrifices made by our ancestors during the founding of our country.”

Visitors will also learn about Polly Cooper who chose to stay with the American army and cooked and cared for the sick and suffering soldiers. The Oneida’s historical generosity continues to this day.

“With the Oneida’s gift the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is able to animate this story in a compelling way for our visitors,” said Kevin Gover, director of the museum. “We are ever grateful for their generosity.”

More than 125 specialty lights illuminate the myriad symbols incorporated in the statue. Six digital projectors wash the curved walls of the alcove with images of the indigenous landscape filled with flora and fauna, then battle scenes of the Oneida and Americans fighting the British side-by-side and visions of hope for the future. Incorporated in the space is an assistive listening system for the visually impaired.

The new presentation of “Allies in War, Partners in Peace” is possible by the generous support from the Oneida Indian Nation. “Allies in War, Partners in Peace,” originally presented to the museum in 2004, is a gift from the Oneida Indian Nation.

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