The Warriors Project
In March of 2002, the DSDECU organized and hosted a group of scholars and government representatives at the University of Arizona in Tucson to discuss the possibility of a research initiative about American Indian and Black interaction in the 19th century American West. Scholars and administrators from the Department of Defense, the National Park Service, and various academic institutions including the universities of Arizona, Washington, and Haskell Indian University in Kansas and Howard in Washington DC agreed on the following points:
• A program was needed that would put the dialogue concerning minority history in the American West in the hands of the minority students and institutions themselves.
• Native, African and Hispanic American students needed a forum in which they could speak to one another about their interrelated histories in the American West and about how their shared history contributed to the nation's history at large.
As a result, through the efforts of these institutions and the administrative efforts of the Desert Southwest Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit (CESU), the Warriors Project was created.
• Project Number 1-Initial Research and Program Development
Howard and Haskell Universities agreed to provide students and faculty for a pilot project involving the creation of a bibliography of primary and secondary sources and an inventory of related battlefields and sites. A grant to fund this initial effort was written and obtained by the DSCESU Office from the NPS Director's Challenge Cost Share Fund for the NPS fiscal year 2003 which was divided between Howard and Haskell Universities through the CESU program.
A student paper by based on this research by Mr. Donovan Anderson was published in the Howard University Graduate School Journal of Research (volume VIII: 2002-2003) as part of the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program.
At the request of the DSCESU, the University of Texas at El Paso’s African-American Studies Program agreed to host the program in January of ’05. Interested individuals and organizations convened to discuss the future of the Warriors Project at El Paso, Texas on April 19-20, 2005. As a result of a request from UTEP, representatives from Arizona State University’s Native Studies Program agreed to co-sponsorship of the Warrior’s Project. Administrative structure was discussed, as were the subjects of ethics, research, partnerships and heritage tourism. In 2005, a website was developed for the project and placed at the University of Texas African American Studies program. The website is available at: http://www.utep.edu. Type in “African American Studies” in the Department /Program Search and scroll down to the heading and click on “Warriors Project Website”.
• Project Number 2-Research Evolution
In 2004, Ms. Bobbi Rahder of Haskell University, in cooperation with the history department at the University of Kansas at Lawrence, applied for and received a Ford Foundation grant to study the interaction of minority groups in the 19th century American West. Part of the inspiration for this grant was generated by participation in the Warriors project. Ms. Rahder and Haskell also hosted Warriors Project participant Dr. Quintard Taylor of the University of Washington in February of 2004 to further develop this important effort. Dr. Taylor, a nationally recognized American History scholar, participated in the initial Warriors conference in Tucson in 2002.
• Project Number 3-Archeology
The Department of Interior, through the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management is sponsoring a cooperative effort in the archeological investigation of a Buffalo Soldier’s campsite in New Mexico's Guadalupe Mountains. With the cooperation park superintendents Mr. John Lujan, Dr. Eleanor King of Howard University and Mr. Charles Haecker of the NPS office Santa Fe managed a field team in July ‘04 that included students from Howard University and Native Americans at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Howard University Communications student, Mr. Eric Berry, recorded the work on video and created a DVD documentary of the project. The production won Howard’s prestigious Paul Robeson Award for Creative Excellence in ’05.
Due to the three years of successful field seasons at Guadelupe Mountain National Park, Dr. King and Howard University have established a yearly field school through Howard and the DSCESU program for archeological research related to Buffalo Soldiers and Indian sites.
• Project Number 4-Heritage Tourism
In June ‘06, at the Warriors Project Planning Meeting at the University of Texas at El Paso, participating members agreed that a Heritage Tourism program should be an integral part of the group’s overall efforts. The National Park Service’s Montana State Coordinator agreed to chair this committee, Plans are being developed to bring together interested parties in various federal agencies, state and local tourism programs and private industry to explore a comprehensive heritage tourism program based on the Warriors Project.
• Project Number 5-Oral History/Folklore
The University of Texas at El Paso’s Oral History Institute has launched the Warriors Oral History program in the summer of ’05 in cooperation with the University of Arizona’s Ethno-history Program. Meetings were held with local Buffalo Soldier organizations in Tucson, Arizona in June ’06 and the project is now underway with interviews scheduled to be completed in ’06-’07. Arizona State University at Tempe is considering the establishment of a Native American oral history program on this subject
• Project 6-Fort Huachuca Preservation Project in cooperation with UTEP and UA.
In 2001, a local history group, the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers, Inc. (SWABS), approached the Garrison Commander of Fort Huachuca, Arizona with a project to preserve, renovate and interpret the former WWII Black Officers Club at Fort Huachuca—one of the last remaining buildings of its kind on any US military base. Discussions and negotiations are in progress between the citizens group, the fort administration and DOD and are ongoing.
• Project 7-Cooperative Research with Mexico
Interest has been expressed concerning international research cooperation between the US Department of Interior and Mexicos' Institutio Nacional de Antropologia y Historia (INAH) regarding the history of Black troops on the US/ Mexico border 1870 -1920. Research would be explored concerning US Black troops and their interaction with Mexican populations as part of troops under US General John J. Pershing's attempts to quell early 20th century Mexican border disturbances prior to US entry into WWI. Cooperative research projects, symposia and bilingual publications also have been considered. The centenary of the 1910 Mexican Revolution will be observed in 2010 and will provide numerous opportunities for dialogue and cooperation in the international observation of this important event.
• Project 8-Fort Davis Museum Exhibits.
At the request of Superintendent Chuck Hunt, The Warriors Project is participating in the review, repair and redesign of interpretive storylines exhibits and at Fort Davis. Members of the Warriors Project at UTEP and ASU have offered to review and consult on the presentation of information regarding black troops and Native Americans at the site in the latter part of the 19th Century. The Arizona State Museum will work under a DSCESU cooperative agreement to fabricate and install new exhibits during the ’07-’08 fiscal years.
• Project 9-National Meeting Washington, DC.
The Warriors Project members have agreed to support a national meeting in Washington DC 2008 in cooperation with the Smithsonian’s American Indian and African-American Museums. Preliminary meetings have been held by UTEP and ASU representatives in Washington, DC. A formal planning meeting is being scheduled.
• Project 10-International Symposia
Potential exist for the establishment of continuing international symposia of world class scholars focusing on colonialism in the expansion of 19th and 20th century world empires. Comparative studies would be supported and shared regarding actions involving native populations and troops in the colonial world in North and South America, Africa, Ireland, Southeast Asia, Russia, the Pacific and elsewhere. Sponsors could include CESUs, UNESCO programs, Fulbright Study Programs and others.
• Project 11-Warriors as a Training and Recruitment Vehicle
Mr. Bill Gwaltney of IMR’s Workforce Enhancement Program regularly participates in the Warriors Project by making recruitment training available to CESU personnel and also by meeting with various CESU university representatives regarding minority students and historically Black, Native American and Hispanic serving institutions. The Warriors Project has centered upon participation from three such diverse-serving universities: Howard, Haskell and UTEP. Student interns are a regular part of the program and recruitment possibilities are an important part of the CESU Warriors Program.
The energy and enthusiasm generated by the Warrior’s Project over the past five years continues to grow and evolve. Placement of the program at UTEP and ASU in ’05 was a landmark event for the program and continuing programs with these institutions as well as Howard University and Haskell University promises a bright future. The CESU program continues to promote and cooperate with this diverse-serving effort.
|Keywords:||Warriors, Diversity, History, Haskell Howard, Texas, Arizona|
Cultural Resource Specialist, Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, National Park Service, US Department of the Interior, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Director, African American Studies, University of Texas at El Paso, Program Director, History, University of Texas, el Paso, Texas, USA
Professor, Native American Studies-Arizona State University, Arizona State University, Tempe Arizona, Arizona, USA
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