Cowboys & Indians

MONUMENTAL Spirit

CONSIDERING THE EXTRAORDINARY HISTORY BEHIND the new National Native American Veterans Memorial, the story of the hawk that consecrated its location on the National Mall doesn’t seem so far-fetched. Shortly after the design was selected in 2018, the memorial’s designer, Harvey Pratt, a Cheyenne-Arapaho-Sioux artist from Oklahoma, traveled to Washington, D.C., to join a committee on the site where the new landmark would be constructed.

… a hawk flies out of the southwest and it lands right on the spot we chose and starts hopping around.

We were giving a presentation at the final site — about 30 of us were standing there — and a hawk flies out of the southwest and it lands right on the spot we chose and starts hopping around,” Pratt recalls. “I said, ‘Look, he’s dancing.’ Then he flew up in a tree and sat there the whole hour we were there.

“He came out of the southwest. That’s the direction where the Creator lives. My oldest brother and grandfather’s name was Hawk. My ancestors came there to approve what we’ve done.”

More auspicious yet, the visitation has proved no coincidence: Pratt’s hawk has since been observed frequently perching in a tree near the memorial, and a smaller hawk has begun hanging out on one of the armatures of the time-lapse camera system installed atop the museum to document the construction

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