Western historian and author Alvin Josephy Jr., who divides his time between homes in Joseph and Connecticut, will be a guest of honor at the grand opening of the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Sept. 21.
Josephy was the first chairman of the board of trustees of the museum after it was authorized by the U.S. Congress as the 16th museum of the Smithsonian Institute in 1989.
"This is the culmination of a long crusade, that the Indians should receive the respect they deserve," Joseph said about the museum. "It's a realization of my life-long dream for the Indians. I plan to go to look and learn."
The date coincides with the 100th anniversary of the death of Chief Joseph, who was exiled to the Colville reservation following his return from Oklahoma after the Nez Perce War of 1877.
Also attending will be numerous representatives of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation near Pendleton, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington and the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho. Descendents of the Wallowa band Nez Perce live on all three reservations.
Among those known to be attending the museum opening are Bobbie Conner, director of the Tamastslikt Cultural Center near Pendleton, and her mother Leah. Both are involved in the Tamkaliks Celebration in Wallowa every summer and frequent visitors to Wallowa County.