Quapaw ceremony at sculpture Friday | Rock Candy

Quapaw ceremony at sculpture Friday

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Quapaw artist Charles Banks Wilsons Arkansea 1700
  • Quapaw artist Charles Banks Wilson's "Arkansea 1700"

Quapaw Tribal Chairman John Berrey said he looks forward to performing the cedar smoke ceremony tomorrow at a sculpture honoring Indian tribes in Riverfront Park and hopes to talk to the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department "about something the Quapaw tribe could contribute to that location."

The sculpture, "Native Knowledge" by Denny Haskew, was purchased for the park by the non-profit organization Sculpture at the River Market, which opens the annual Sculpture at the River Market show and sale tomorrow at the River Market pavilions. There will be a $100-a-ticket preview from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and a $20 event to follow; the exhibition is free Saturday and Sunday.

The smoke ceremony is set for 5 p.m. at the sculpture, which is on the plaza in front of the Junction Bridge. Berrey declined to be more specific about what the tribe, whose ancestors populated Arkansas and for whom the Quapaw Quarter is named, would like to talk to parks about.

I asked Berry about his feelings about the sculpture, which also stands in front of a California casino and depicts a man in a Plains Indian headdress, and which I've written about previously in Eye Candy (here and here). Berrey said the tribe wasn't interested in "getting involved in any controversy" and would be there "to celebrate our history and for people to be educated about the Quapaw tribe. We think it's a good thing."

Berrey was unconcerned that the Indian carved into the stone sculpture was not representative of Quapaw traditional dress, asking, "Whose to say a Plains Indian couldn't have given a Quapaw" a feather headdress? He called the riverside site "a significant geographical location" in the history of the Quapaw. (Learn more about the Quapaw here.)

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