Effort to Erect Statue Honoring American Indians Runs Into Roadblocks

The effort to erect a monument honoring American Indians buried along Ennis Joslin has run into a number of delays, the biggest being a lack of money.

Organizers say that no corporations, or anyone with deep pockets, have stepped forward to help; and what's worse, the artist who was going to sculpt the monument died, and then the contract with the City expired.

Larry "Running Turtle" Salazar is the man behind the effort to put a monument along Ennis Joslin at Hans Suter Park. He is with the South Texas Alliance of Indigenous People, a group who had hoped to have the sculpture in place by now; but it's only been able to raise $23,000 -- way short of the $300,000 needed to cover the project expenses.

Salazar said that most of the people donating can only afford to give the change they have on them. He is disappointed that big business and community leaders have not gotten behind the effort.

"Not corporations like I thought. Maybe CITGO or Valero, one of them people would step forward, and none of the refineries, none of the big politicians or the attorneys or doctors or anything like that," Salazar said. "And I really thought they would have stepped up, too, but it's okay. It's okay, I guess. It's the way it's supposed to happen, you know. We'll make it happen, whatever it takes."

The sculptor, Dave McGary, passed away. His wife promised to carry on his work and sculpt the monument, but it won't have an Indian atop a horse. It will simply be a holy man standing.

Also, the contract with the City expired to place in the monument at the Hans Suter Park. That's because it wasn't completed within two years.

A new deal, though, is being drawn up and should be agreed on soon. That will give the group another three years to get the sculpture in place.

On Saturday, Salazar will be in Rockport at an Earth Day celebration, where he will be selling copies of his book, The Pipe and the Pen. The books will cost $10, and all the money goes straight to the monument fund.


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