But in recent decades the ground has shifted. The Enlightenment vision of artifacts unveiling universal truths has fallen prey to skepticism. And the 20th-century disintegration of the European empires, accompanied by attention to their sins, has jostled the museums’ foundations. The Enlightenment museum, after all, was often an “imperial” museum, its ambitions aided by the empire’s global reach. Natural history museums have felt the tremors as well. They began by gazing out confidently from the peaks of 19th-century Western civilization and claiming everything that was closer to nature than to culture as their domain, including fossils, wildlife and non-Western peoples. Now those ideas are undone.
The woman who accused a Farmington police officer of sexually assaulting her filed a formal discrimination complaint against the department with the city's Community Relations Commission. Rape charges still are pending against Sgt. Kent O'Donnell, who was accused of forcibly raping the local woman during an Aug. 27 incident. The alleged victim, who requested she remain nameless, believes she is not the first American Indian victim of O'Donnell and filed the complaint based on the belief that police administration has not properly handled officers who have abused authority. This is not the first time an American Indian woman has made allegations against the sergeant. A public records request for the citizen complaints against O'Donnell revealed 24 complaints from 2004 through 2011.
During World War II, the U.S. military enlisted Navajo Indians who used their native language to devise a clandestine, unbreakable code. Host Michel Martin speaks to Chester Nez, the last of the original Navajo 'code talkers,' and Judith Schiess Avila, co-author of Nez' autobiography.
Data from the 2010 Census indicates Iowa’s Native American population grew 27 percent in the last decade. Census-takers found just over 11,000 Native Americans in Iowa. Just over a thousand were living in the Meskwaki Settlement near Tama, and the Census found 7.5 percent of the population in Tama County is Native American. However, nearly one-in-five of the Native Americans in Iowa are part of the Sioux Nation and 20 percent of the Native Americans in Iowa live in the Sioux City area. The Census found members of the Cherokee, Chippewa, Winnebago and Omaha in Iowa as well. A much larger percentage of Native Americans choose the military than the population at large. Almost 750 of the Native Americans in Iowa are serving in the military or are veterans. That’s almost seven percent of the entire Native American population in Iowa.