September 22, 2014

Let’s Begin a New Chapter in NMAI History

This week marks an important milestone for the community of the National Museum of the American Indian —the 10th anniversary of the opening of the museum in Washington, D.C. I’m proud to say NMAI has helped redefine the way our visitors understand the Native American experience and Native Peoples, thanks to the generous support of numerous Native Nations, members, trustees, and staff. More than 25,000 Native Americans gathered for the museum opening in 2004—the largest gathering of indigenous people in Washington, D.C., to date—and we look forward to greeting thousands more over the next decade.

Director Gover NMAI-0283
Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the America Indian.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the museum’s landmark founding legislation; the 20th anniversary of the opening of our first location, in New York City at the George Gustav Heye Center; and the 15th anniversary of the opening of our Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Maryland. These are fine accomplishments, and we are proud and grateful for what we all have done together.

There’s still important work to be done. Most Americans have been taught a limited—and often mistaken—version of Native American history. I still remember the stereotypes that defined my childhood: Indians were figures of the past, often pictured on a rocky hillside dressed in feathers and buckskin. It was images like these that made growing up as an Indian child harder than it had to be.

The true story of our heritage is so much more nuanced, complex, and fascinating. Understanding this complexity can help us understand our present and prepare for our future as a multicultural nation. This is where NMAI can play a vital role in the coming decades, and we are committed to taking on this role with greater focus and intensity. 

NMAI-0080 NMAI-0067


NMAI-0335 NMAI-0344




Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations, on view at the museum in Washington from September 21, 2014, through fall 2018. A more detailed caption for these photographs appears below.

Over the next quarter century, we’re committed to telling the authentic history of the Western Hemisphere and Native Peoples to citizens, policymakers, and policy influencers nationwide.  We’re embarking on this new effort in a number of ways, including through groundbreaking exhibitions such as Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations, which is now open to the public. We’re also accelerating our efforts to work with educators, providing classroom materials designed to instill a richer understanding of our history as Americans. And we’ve launched an ambitious campaign to fund more than $75 million in projects that will sustain the next generation of our work.

We understand that this kind of change cannot happen overnight. It will take time and resources. But it’s my hope that our work over the next 25 years can begin to correct the deep-rooted stereotypes, inaccuracies, and omissions that defined my childhood and continue to contribute to the challenges faced by Tribal Nations.

Please join me as we retell America’s story and build understandings upon which the Indian Nations can achieve their highest aspirations.

                                                                                                —Kevin Gover


For more information on ways you can support NMAI, visit or email

Kevin Gover is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and a citizen of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. 


Photo block above: Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations, on view at the museum in Washington from September 21, 2014, through fall 2018. 

Top: Examples of early diplomacy between include (left) the 1682 Lenape Treaty with colonist William Penn and (right) the 1794 Treaty of Canandiagua between the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the United States. The Treaty of Canandiagua, one of eight original treaties that will rotate on exhibit to preserve fragile documents from light damage, can be seen now through February 2015. 

Center: A display of pipe bags, represents both the importance of ceremony to diplomacy and the northern Plains Nations that were party to the Horse Creek Treaty (1861). From left to right: Tsitsistas/Shutai (Cheyenne) pipe bag, ca. 1851 (NMAI 8/8037); Sahnish (Arikara) pipe bag, ca. 1880 (NMAI 20/1400); Yankton pipe bag, ca. 1880 (NMAI 16/7255); AssiniIoine pipe bag, ca. 1880 (NMAI 12/7393); Numakiki (Mandan) pipe bag, ca. 1851 (NMAI 8/8088); Northern Inunaina (Arapaho) pipe bag, ca. 1885 (NMAI 23/1176); Apsáalooke (Crow/Absaroke) pipe bag, ca.1870 (NMAI 14/828); Minitari (Hidatsa) pipe bag, ca. 1880 (American Museum of Natural History 50.1/5350B); Shoshone pipe bag, ca. 1870 (NMAI 2/3294). 

Bottom: From the mid-19th century unti the present day, generations of Indian leaders have traveled to Washington, D.C., to remind successive administrations of the United States' nation-to-nation treaty obligations.

All photos are by Paul Morigi/AP Images for the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.

September 22, 2011

Kevin Gover requests the pleasure of your company at the opening of phase one of the imagiNATIONS Activity Center

Children welcome here When I first visited the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, DC, like most people, I saw a beautiful, elegant place with intriguing and informative exhibitions. As I watch visitors to the museum, I notice that visitors experience the museum rather solemnly. That is fine for the adults who seek a thoughtful and contemplative experience. If you’re a kid, though, that can be pretty boring.

And in fact we found that our younger visitors have a hard time finding fun things to do in the museum. So about two years ago we decided to take the educational resource center space on the third floor and make it into a place for families and children, in order to provide greater opportunities for our younger visitors to engage with Native cultures.

I assigned a project manager who built a team, and I gave the team one direction: Make a dynamic space for young people to learn and have fun. The team started by looking at other spaces and talking with colleagues, both inside the Smithsonian and at institutions in other cities. In the end, they decided on a space that children and adults alike would be comfortable visiting. They wanted a range of activities to cover a variety of interests. And they wanted everything to be immersive and hands-on.

This was a challenging assignment, rather different from the mounting of a traditional museum exhibition. It’s a different way of thinking, of designing, and of building. But when talented and creative people work together, good results are possible. I could not be more excited about this new space and what the staff has accomplished.

We will open the imagiNATIONS Activity Center in three stages: in September, in October, and in early 2012. I walked through the space the other day and watched crews installing the September components: One group was mounting skate decks for the skateboard activity, while another was installing the shelf wall for the "snow" blocks of the build-it-yourself iglu. A third group was on scaffolding in the back, assembling the poles for our Amazonian stilt house, while a fourth was working on the interactive quiz show at the entrance. Our exhibitions development team is producing life-size spin puzzles and the skeleton of a giant basket. Boxes of supplies are arriving daily, and the final details for the opening programs are getting settled.

Amazonian stilt house
On opening day, September 25, we will have some very special guests—several children from the Amazonian rainforest in Peru, whose photographs were the model for our stilt house. They will be in the imagiNATIONS Center at 11:30 to talk about their home and their photography. Also, Kekaulele Kawai‘ae‘a, a young Native Hawaiian author, will read from his book at 1 and 3 PM, and Juanita Velasco, an Ixil Maya weaver from Guatemala, will do weaving demonstrations and workshops from 10:30 to 12:30 and 2 to 4 PM.

It feels like this day took a long time to come. We cannot wait to share this space with you, our visitors. I welcome you to the NMAI family and invite you to join me in opening this new museum space on September 25. I hope you’ll be as excited as I am, and that I’ll see you here many times.

—Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director, National Museum of the American Indian 

Photographs (top to bottom): At the entrance to the imagiNATIONS Activity Center, column-spin puzzles address several goals: inviting visitors to engage in hands-on activities, encouraging people to notice how different cultures express their unique identity, and letting children know that this part of the museum has been created especially for them.

The iglu activity space takes shape. Despite the woodworking clamps where text panels are being mounted at the left, no glueing will be permitted once iglu-building commences!

Dwellings from four different parts of the Americas—an Amazonian stilt house, iglu, adobe (below), and tipi (coming in phase 2 or 3)—help young museum-goers experience how cultures reflect the world around them. 


Comments (10)

    » Post a Comment

Interesting read, thank you for posting the article, will visit the museum.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. You have a wonderful blog! Keep it up!

This is a GREAT post! I hope you not mind. I published an excerpt on the site and linked back to your own blog for people to read the full version. Thanks for your advice.

Learning history the fun way is a whole lot of experience especially for the kids. They love to use their imaginations. Bringing up this idea would not only nurture them with an American heritage but they could also have fun at the same time.

Museums are most likely for kids. From there they could gain more knowledge. It is a great idea that they make effort on how to make kids enjoy while learning.

informative information to the public, with the museum we will know a lot of history

This is a fantastic place for children to let their imaginations run wild. It can really allow them to "live" the history they learn, which is an integral part of the learning process. Thanks for the nice piece.

We hope you not mind. I published an excerpt on the site and linked back to your own blog for people to read the full version. Thanks for your advice.

Learning history the fun way is a whole lot of experience especially for the kids. They love to use their imaginations. Bringing up this idea would not only nurture them with an American heritage but they could also have fun at the same time

This is a fantastic place for children to let their imaginations run wild. It can really allow them to "live" the history they learn, which is an integral part of the learning process. Thanks for the nice piece.

June 17, 2011

NMAI Director Kevin Gover visits the Southern Ute Cultural Center in Colorado

    LandscapeplainsThis is Old Spanish Trail country, crossed routinely by traders of the 1800s who may have travelled by horse or mule. They carried blankets and other woolen goods to the west coast and herded fresh horses and mules back to Santa Fe. (Photo by Scott DW Smith, courtesy of the Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum)

Last month I had the pleasure of attending the public opening of the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum in Ignacio, Colorado. Ignacio sits in the Colorado portion of the Four Corners highlands. The Four Corners region is starkly beautiful and one of my favorite places in the United States. And it is Indian Country.

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe has done a terrific job of developing first-rate facilities for visitors to the area. The Sky Ute Casino Resort is a fine, even elegant facility, with large, well-appointed rooms decorated in earth tones. The museum is a short walk from the resort.

The opening was very well attended, with a strong presence from the surrounding non-Indian communities. NMAI Trustee and former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Northern Cheyenne) and his wife Linda were among the many dignitaries to attend the event. Not even the stormy spring weather in the Four Corners deterred visitors. A brief desert rainstorm greeted us as we arrived. All rain in the high desert is a blessing, however, and though our clothes were dampened, our enthusiasm was not.

     BasketweavingUte basketweavers like Adoline Eyetoo (picture above) from White Mesa, Utah, are considered to be living cultural treasures and represent a long-practiced artistic tradition. (Photo by Scott DW Smith, courtesy of the Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum)

The tribe’s pride in the museum is evident, and it is a fine accomplishment indeed. The museum has a welcome gallery and a permanent exhibition that highlights the history of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. The permanent gallery beautifully and effectively provides visitors with a clear understanding of the history. It uses objects, installations, and media most effectively. There are interactive installations throughout that will interest both young and old. The museum at this point has a small collection, but has assembled an excellent group of objects borrowed from other institutions. The NMAI is proud to have provided over two dozen objects from our collections to the tribal museum. The highlight of the exhibition for me is the orientation film in a central multi-screened theater. Images of the Four Corners landscapes are accompanied by elders speaking of the history and culture of the Tribe. Executive Director Lynn Brittner and her staff have created a first-rate educational and cultural experience for visitors to the museum.

The museum was designed by Johnpaul Jones (Cherokee/Choctaw), one of the primary architects of the NMAI’s museum in Washington, D.C. He worked with tribal members young and old in creating a beautiful design that reflects the cultural values of the Southern Ute people. In addition to the permanent gallery, the museum has a gallery for temporary exhibitions, a large multi-purpose room, a library and archives area, outdoor areas, and a very good gift shop.

PanoramafinalThe beautiful new 52,000-square-foot facility celebrates the living heritage of Native people who have lived in the area for thousands of years. (Photo by Scott DW Smith, courtesy of the Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum)

Although the Southern Ute Indian Tribe provided the capital funds for development of the museum, the museum is a 501(c) (3) organization and aspires to self-sufficiency through admissions fees, grants, and charitable gifts. The museum is governed by a board of directors led by members of the tribe. I purchased a museum membership, and I hope others will as well.

I am always moved when I visit tribal museums. Whether large or small, new or old, they can achieve a level of authenticity to which museums like the NMAI can only aspire. The stories of Native people have most often been told by others. Native communities have had to fight hard to have their narratives accepted and presented in educational and cultural institutions. Those narratives are presented most effectively, always, by the tribal people themselves. That is why a primary component of the NMAI’s work is in support of these tribal institutions. I am always pleased to see tribal artifacts in the hands of the tribes that created them. It feels like those objects, instilled with the spirits of the artists who created them, are at last home.

I thank Tribal Chairwoman Pearl E. Casias and the Tribal Council of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe for their hospitality and congratulate them on their achievement. To learn more about the tribe, please visit For information about the Southern Ute Museum and Cultural Center, go to And if you want to visit the Southern Ute Reservation, you’ll want to stay at the Sky Ute Resort. Make reservations at

Here is a link to the Southern Ute travel story that recently appeared in our Summer 2011 issue of American Indian magazine:

Another travel story from National Public Radio:

Comments (13)

    » Post a Comment

I love this blog. Indian tribe have dazzled me with its rich culture.

While planning a trip out to CO for the summer I found this blog. I am soooo glad I did! My family and I are now adding this to our itinerary. I think it would be a great place to visit for the kids as well as the wife and I - can't wait.

They don't define the Ute as much as the exhibits that tell of great hunters and horsemen, of tribal woman who carted around tepees and gathered herbs and berries, of a culture that was decimated, yes, but then rose again, reclaiming its identity, restoring its economy.

This is a great post,which has a lot of readers.

I think many could benefit from reading your blog therefore I am subscribing to it and telling all my friends.


yes this one is really nice

Of course ! the blog is so nice and informative. Really thanks for sharing this blog.

t's a good article. I'm glad I found this blog because I am interested in the lives, cultures of ancient tribes. This museum shows us the UTE Indian tribe, which is a pride for them. It's good to have a site, like this museum for anyone to forget that had once cultures and also with the museum can buy tribal objects artists who create. Thanks for this information.

What an immensely rich culture! It is great that they now have this wonderful building dedicated in their honor.


Thanks for the nice post living in Utah I get to see a lot of Indian stuff out in the desert and Utah has some good Indian museum to see and a lot of rock art to look at and enjoy.

It's good to know about such kind of museum. To know the tribes of different region is amazing.

I hope visit of Southern Ute Cultural Center successful by the director.

Learning history the fun way is a whole lot of experience especially for the kids. They love to use their imaginations. Bringing up this idea would not only nurture them with an American heritage but they could also have fun at the same time.

June 08, 2011

How “Three Sisters” and Michelle Obama are Helping Indian Country

Let's Move! Trip to the W hite House Museum director Kevin Gover (back row, fourth from the right), First Lady Michelle Obama and a group of local Native American children at the White House's "Let's Move" harvest, June 3, 2011. (Photo by Nedra Darling - DOI)

By Kevin Gover (Pawnee), Director of the National Museum of the American Indian

Bad health remains a major concern for Indian communities throughout the United States. Historically poor access to health care, the absence of recreational opportunities, and bad diets lead to a crisis of obesity and associated health concerns such as diabetes in many parts of Indian country. Indian children are not immune from this epidemic. To the contrary, the onset of adult diabetes in children has become alarmingly common.

Good food is the key component to good health. Traditional Native diets were replete with both wild and cultivated fruits and vegetables and lean meats. During the early decades of the reservation period, those diets were supplanted by government rations consisting of white flour, sugar, cheese, and lard. Survival required the consumption of these commodities in unhealthy amounts, and they became the staples of Native diets on reservations.  While these foods kept the people alive, they also made them chronically ill. One food exemplifies the problem. Frybread is widely thought of as a traditional Native food. It’s easy to make. Flour and salt are mixed with water and then fried in lard. But while frybread is a tasty treat, as a dietary staple it is a health nightmare.

Childhood obesity is not just a problem in Indian Country. Throughout the United States, our young people too often eat poorly and exercise little. Fast food, junk food, and lack of exercise are producing historic rates of childhood obesity in the United States. To combat this problem, First Lady Michele Obama is heading a program called “Let’s Move!” The program encourages parents and children to eat healthy foods and exercise.

Mrs. Obama has established an element of the program directed to Native children specifically. Let’s Move! In Indian Country has four main goals: to create a healthy start on life, develop healthy learning, increase physical activity, and improve access to affordable, healthy and traditional foods.

Last week Mrs. Obama hosted an event at the White House to kick off the Indian Country program. About two dozen Native kids from the D.C. area came to the White House to help Mrs. Obama harvest the early crops from the White House garden and to plant the garden’s summer crops. The White House has been consulting with the NMAI about traditional Native foods, and I was invited to participate in the harvest and planting.

DSC_0141 From left to right: Basketball star Tahnee Robinson (Shoshone/Pawnee/Lakota), Jefferson Keel, President of the  National Congress of American Indians, Kevin Gover, Director of the National Museum of the American Indian, and Sam Bradford (Cherokee), quarterback of the St. Louis Rams. (Photo by Nedra Darling - DOI)   

A number of prominent Native people from the D.C. area were also asked to help with the planting and harvesting, including Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Echohawk, Indian Health Service Director Yvette Roubideaux, and National Congress of American Indians President Jefferson Keel. We were joined by two prominent Native athletes, Sam Bradford (Cherokee) and Tahnee Robinson (Shoshone/Pawnee/Lakota), who are working with the White House and with Nike to promote healthy lifestyles for Native kids. Sam Bradford is the quarterback of the St. Louis Rams and last year’s Rookie of the Year in the National Football League.  Tahnee Robinson is the star of last year’s University of Nevada women’s basketball team and has now entered the Women’s National Basketball Association as a member of the Connecticut Sun.  (Tahnee also happens to be the daughter of my first cousin Sara Rose Robinson.)

Sam, Tahnee, and Mrs. Obama were the stars of the show, along with the kids.  Not surprisingly, we adults were star-struck, but the kids took it all in stride.

Three Sisters_Sunflowers The "Three Sisters" garden at the National Museum of the American Indian. (Photo by Katherine Fogden)

Perhaps the best known products of Native agriculture in North America are corn, beans, and squash, "the Three Sisters.” These plants work together in the garden and in our diets. Beans produce nitrogen in the soil to feed the corn and squash. Corn provides a sturdy stalk for the beans to climb. Squash plants provide ground cover to keep down weeds and keep the ground moist. The three in combination make for a very healthy start toward a balanced diet.

So the kids and the First Lady planted the Three Sisters in the garden on the South Lawn of White House. Mrs. Obama then called on the kids to harvest the lettuce, kale, turnips, and other spring crops in the garden. They took to the job with great enthusiasm and surprising efficiency. Within a few minutes, neat piles of greens were stacked on ice, ready for the White House kitchen. The foods harvested by the kids were served at a White House dinner for visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The excess will be donated to local programs for the homeless.

The President and the First Lady  President Obama and the First Lady pose for photos at the spring harvest of the White  House Community Garden. (Photo by Thom Wallace, NCAI)

All of this was exciting enough, but we were greeted with one more special surprise. It just so happened that President Obama was returning from a trip that afternoon. So the little kids and we big kids were invited to greet the President as he arrived on Marine One, the Presidential helicopter. The President shook hands with all of us and, along with the First Lady, posed for photos.

We all left the White House very happy, and in my case at least, a little sunburned.

To learn more about Let’s Move in Indian Country and what you can do to promote healthy lifestyles for your family and community, visit  

To see video of the First Lady’s “Three Sisters” event and Sam Bradford’s public service announcement, visit and .



Jefferson Keel, President, National Congress of American Indians; USDA Food And Nutrition Service Director, Kevin Concannon and Kevin Gover.

Comments (15)

    » Post a Comment

Great article! I didn't know bad health was an common issue among Indian communities. It's good to see people get involved like this.

-Dan Allard

Great info. Thank you for posting this article. It is also good news that the first lady have a hand to harvest the crops. They surely had great and fun time.

A very interesting and informative read. :)

Developed countries are always facing a huge struggle with obesity and it's a whole different type of nutrition problem.

More like over nutrition.

"the absence of recreational opportunities, and bad diets lead to a crisis of obesity and associated health concerns such as diabetes in many parts of Indian country" It begins with education, and learning how to prevent diabetes. Ethnicity also plays a role in diabetes, as do environmental factors.

Thanks for sharing this information. This is a good reference in How “Three Sisters” and Michelle Obama are Helping Indian Country, but would you please describe, how do you do your study regarding this article?

Beautiful!! So glad to see the pride staying in the Indian heritage!

The From one "Indian" in Canada -
I pray this initiative reaches out - gets to - is made easier and more palatable to those "too many" of our Indigenous Tribal people of North America - US and Canada, who are blocked through deep historical mistrust, disturbed and distorted unwillingness to "take part" in these MOVEMENTS. I am happy to see the Obamas take this particular quest.
Yet, without addressing HOW OUR internal intimate-personal-race-traditions-and-cultural value and belief system is so-deeply set in the disturbance of co-dependency on US not being able to face the exact nature of our disturbed condition as tribes, race or a peoples. I say this because it appears as these initiatives are getting the same "Indians" to come to a slight advantage of these "programs". I dedicated my service work to addressing the core reasons why TOO MANY INDIANS do not use these costly initiatives. There must be a direct recognition of what, how and why these MOVES are worthy... AND don't be afraid to challenge and confront our now-self-accepted self-imposed apathy and victimhood.
Just me asking for strongheart service for us to take part in... Let's Move.
Pilamaya, Meegwetch, Tansi, Merci
Remember the Physical, Mental, e-Motional and Relational. (All of these are spiritual and sacred) Keep going - keep up the true good healthy fight! Blessings shared.

Good information. Thanks to the First Lady of America.

I am so glad to read the post. It is good to see the people are involving like this. A very information post . Thanx for it

Fantastic museum, my son just visited on his school trip with his basketball team.

Oh, wonderful picture with our President.
It is always a joy to see the President and the first lady enjoying with kids



wow! is awesome read this!
Thanks for the article.

Excellent initiative, beyond cultural and national barriers.

Thank you for this article. Its great that Michelle is doing so much for health and nutrition.

I am so glad to read the post. It is good to see the people are involved like this. A very information post .

November 26, 2010

StoryCorps Interview with NMAI's Kevin Gover (Pawnee)

This week the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian has shared the stories of five Native staffers as part of American Indian Heritage Day and the StoryCorps’ 2010 National Day of Listening. Today—Friday, Nov. 26—we celebrate both of these holidays and encourage you and your loved ones to join us by, quite simply, sharing stories with one another.

Gover-post2 Our final interview features the museum’s director, Kevin Gover (Pawnee). Before joining NMAI in 2007, Gover was a professor of law at Arizona State University. From 1997 to 2000, he served as assistant secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior, overseeing programs in Indian education, law enforcement, social services and treaty rights.

He grew up near Lawton, Okla., where his parents worked as civil-rights activists in the 1960s and '70s.

“This museum is really attempting to redefine a number of things. In particular and most importantly, it’s trying to redefine how Indians are represented in the museum world, and establishing a requirement that in order to represent these communities properly the community has to be deeply involved in the development of any sort of content," Gover said during his conversation with Rachael Cassidy (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma), NMAI Cultural Interpreter.

"And we can look out the window right here at the Capitol of the United States, and you realize its symbolic importance. This great stone edifice really, to me, stands for the proposition that Indians are still here, and we’re here to stay.”

On growing up in Comanche County, Oklahoma:

 Gover-Childhood (Click to Play)

EXCERPT: “I suppose my best memory was actually being at my grandmother and grandfather’s farm in Faxon, Oklahoma. It seemed like a carefree place to a child, and there were a million things to get in trouble over when you’re out on that much land with that many animals and that much farm equipment and, so, we did.”

On the biggest in influences in his life:

Gover-Biggest Influence (Click to Play)

EXCERPT: From my parents, the real lasting lesson was to accept people for who they are and to just never, ever judge somebody else because of the color of their skin or their economic background or their gender or religion or any of the other dozens and hundreds of ways we try to separate ourselves from other people. And they were insistent about that. For all their failings, that was something they drove home. That, and I suppose the idea of achieving to the limits of your potential. You know, the achievement part can be a bad thing if you become obsessed with achievement for your own sake. On the other hand, to strive for a cause is a good thing. And they taught me that.”

On choosing a career in law:

Gover- Law and Civil Rights (Click to Play)

EXCERPT: “I think it had something to do with the people that my parents exposed me to during the civil rights movement. There was a loose organization . . . that just called itself “the Group.” But they had taken on as their charter to try to end segregation in Lawton, Oklahoma, in both public and private facilities. And among the members of the group were some lawyers that I remember. I remember one named Maynard Ungerman, another named Bill Sexton. And I just saw how the Group had such a respect for them. When they spoke, everybody was listening. And I think that may be where I decided that I wanted to be a lawyer.”

On his struggles with alcoholism:

Gover-Alcoholism (Click to Play)

EXCERPT: “In my career as a drinker, I still have memories that I shudder over, things that I did, and just wish I could take them back. I know I can’t. . . . Almost everything I’ve done in my life that I’m genuinely ashamed of—not failing, but just ashamed of—happened when I was drinking. So that’s reason enough for me never to drink again.”

The National Day of Listening is an effort to encourage all Americans to honor a friend, loved one, or member of their community by interviewing them about their lives. StoryCorps has created a free do-it-yourself interview guide with equipment recommendations and interview instructions available online at


Comments (40)

    » Post a Comment

Totally enjoyed this interview. Would love to meet this gentleman. He has been involved with tribal peoples in many arenas, and just wished he could have been invited to the Klamath tribes, of which I am a member. He gives me hope, that at 62, I can continue my education after raising 6 children. We have no limits but those that we set ourselves. Indian people making a difference anywhere and everywhere we can!!

Even though I am not an American Indian, I think Kevin Grover can be an inspiration to everyone.

With regard to his bout with alcoholism, I know how devastating this disease can be. My mother was a recovering alcoholic for more than 26 years before she died. It was a daily struggle, but she used it to inspire others. When Kevin decided that he did not like the person he was when he was drinking, he used it to make a positive change in his life.

The wisdom he received from parents about accepting others without judgment is advice I think many people can benefit from today. So many of us are afraid to even acknowledge that there are differences between us, because it might not be 'politically correct' to do so.

I think it is wonderful to ask people about their different cultures. When we are open to hearing how other people live, without making judgments about them, we can actually put the National Day of Listening into effect on a daily basis.

Excellent. купить ноутбук Totally enjoyed this interview!

I can relate I have had a part time job as a drinker.

Great interview. Real experiences from real people like Kevin Gover can really serve to help a lot of people who face similar challenges.

thank you for the interview, it was very interesting. It helps other people realize that they are not alone in their struggles.

Excellent..very inspiring and informative.

great interview, we will recognize such a great work.

high value interview to listen to

Very informative blog.
nice to read.
good work
thanks for the posting.

It's wonderful to see that native American Indians are beginning to emerge into well documented and inspirational members of society. One day they may even be given the apology they so deserve. I really enjoyed the the article and gain some interesting and educational insight.

I have gone through similar times and it is great to see someone come through it as well!

Great interview. I would like to have an interview with this guy for my page.

Really very nice blog...
After a long time to find this kind of content...

Excellent, brilliant interview.

Your culture travels far. Even here in the very far south west of the United Kingdom in the county of Cornwall... there are many people with an avid interest in your fascinating culture.

Although us Celts are not too similar in many respects, I guess if we do share a common similarity... it's in our combined oral storytelling traditions.

Thank you very much indeed for posting this up.

Onen Hag Oll (One and All in the Cornish (Kernow) native language))

Mark Andrews
Cornwall UK

It's very nice and inspiring. There are many people in this world who are heroes but most will never get that recognition.

Best Regards,

Joe P.

Great to see this culture still being preserved, keep up the education!

Thank you for sharing your stories.

I am very glad to see that there is still hope. In my country the education is very low because the economic climate. You really are great!



inspiring one!! great work!!

Great story.

Very informative blog.

About Indians. Great!!!!


I met Kevin by accident once while I was taking some photos on vacation and he was a thoroughly interesting man.

Very interesting.

"This museum is really attempting to redefine a number of things. In particular and most importantly, it’s trying to redefine how Indians are represented in the museum world, and establishing a requirement that in order to represent these communities properly the community has to be deeply involved in the development of any sort of content"

I think that's very important and I hope it goes good.

I find this very interesting. I find myself 43 years old, sober, and wondering what to do. I believe I will return to school. Thanks to the commentor. If 63 is too old to go to school than 43 certainly isn't.

Very interesting blog, it is difficult to find a blog with high quality content like this, from already thank you very much.

It is fitting and just darn 'right' that an Indian community's members be involved in the decisions about what goes into their displays and stories in any U.S. museum. GD.

This was a great post. Thanks for the read :)

I think that is very important from public point of view.

very happy to read your blog.
thank you for sharing,I enjoyed the article.

Great and interesting story.
Thank you.

Thanks for this insightful information. I really enjoyed it. You provided some great values here.


Mr Gover sounds like a very interesting person. I would love to hear more about his opinions on native american history! Thank you for posting this interview!

Really really unique, good post, keep writing please.

It's the stories and people like these that give those of us who work with heritage and in museums the inspiration to work harder. Excellent article!


The museum is interesting. I especially enjoyed the piece on law and civil rights.

nice info,
thanks for sharing.. :)

I really enjoy reading such a inspiring article like this. Keep it up

I agree with Mark's comments above. This interview is pertinent to many communities worldwide where storytelling is an important part of the heritage. Her in Cornwall, stories have been passed down through many generations. Many stories are delivered through songs such as sea shanties.
Tom in Cornwall