Horse Capture is about a year away from realizing a lifelong dream
and completing his life's work.
a life of preserving Native American Indian culture, including more
than 20 years as a curator at two museums, Horse Capture has one
final project to see through - the opening of the National Museum
of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
been working all my life toward this," Horse Capture said at
the Western Heritage Center on Friday. "To me that is the cycle
Capture was in Billings for the museum's Montana American Indian
Heritage Day, and was the keynote speaker at its annual dinner and
celebration. He gave a seminar Friday on interpreting American Indian
65-year-old Gros Ventre was born on the Fort Belknap Reservation
but grew up mostly in Butte. He said his journey didn't really begin
until he was a young man in the 1960s, working in San Francisco.
He had it all he said, a good job, a new car and a boat.
still, there was something empty and unfulfilled within me,"
Horse Capture said.
Capture was drawn into the civil rights movement after a group of
students and Native American Indians took over Alcatraz Island in
1969. He found people who were enthusiastic, shared his concerns
and were accepting, he said.
Capture quit his job and began attending the University of California
at Berkley, studying anthropology. After teaching and earning a
master's degree in Montana, he served as curator of the Plains Indian
Museum of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody from 1980 to
struggling with heart attacks and thinking he was going to die,
Horse Capture landed a job at the National Museum of the American
Indian in New York. Even though he and his wife's car was stolen
two weeks after they moved to the Bronx, they decided to stay.
new National Museum of the American Indian under construction near
the Capitol is the culmination of the last decade of Horse Capture's
work, he said. The museum is scheduled to open Sept. 21, 2004.
or shine, we're opening," Horse Capture said.
the senior counselor to the director of the museum, he has been
working with tribes all over the country portray their history accurately
from an Indian perspective, he said. The focus is on Indians' origins,
their history and their contemporary lives, he said.
a museum of living people," Horse Capture said. "Some
of our history is in the past, but much of it is in the present
and future. It is our duty to tell the story with and Indian voice."
the collection from the Bronx to Washington, D.C., will be no small
task. There are about 850,000 pieces that will be carefully transported
to the new museum during the next few years, Horse Capture said.
It could take as long as five years to get it all moved, he said.
the opening next September is where Horse Capture will say farewell.
He will return to the Fort Belknap reservation, a place where his
family, alive and deceased, all live he said.
the doors open, I'm leaving to return home. Duty done," he
© The Billings Gazette