Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project, Inc.
New Moon Moving
 

Cultural Research and Educational Agency
for the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and  Iowa
 

Walthill and Rosalie, Nebraska

 

 


 


                                                                                                                       Photo courtesy of Private Collection

An Omaha Baby
 


 
Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project, Inc. [OTHRP]
New Moon Moving

A Vision of Cultural Resilience

The Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project (OTHRP), begun informally “from the grassroots” in 1974, has over the last quarter century become one of the more successful and influential groups of its type in the United States.
 
Incorporated in 1991 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, charitable organization, OTHRP has been at the forefront of cross-cultural “coalition building, public education and advocacy to effect positive social change” between the Native and non-Native communities of Nebraska, and elsewhere.  The group has facilitated important original research in a wide range of related
fields, including the recording of archival photographs and other documents, and production of major exhibits held at such institutions as Harvard University and the University of Nebraska/Lincoln (UNL), among others.  
 
One of OTHRP’s first projects occurred in the early 1980’s, in collaboration with the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress.  The group provided authentication for restoring early wax cylinder recordings of traditional Umonhon (Omaha) music, and reintroduced these songs to the local community and to the world.  Today this project is documented at the Library of Congress website:
http://memory.loc.gov/ ammem/omhhtml/omhhome.html

OTHRP worked with both the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature and the United States Congress to successfully pass landmark legislation regarding repatriation issues, including (with the former) both LB 612 (Omaha), which was first defeated but later passed as LB 340 (Pawnee) adopted in 1989, and the Federal Native Graves and Repatriation Act of 1990.  Beginning in the late 1970’s, OTHRP successfully negotiated a return of sacred objects, including the Sacred Pole and White Buffalo Hide and other cultural materials from such institutions as Harvard University, the George Heye Collection of the Museum of the American Indian, and the Nebraska State Historical Society, among others.
 
OTHRP initiated collaboration as an original facilitator for, and helped achieve designation of the Susan LaFlesche Picotte Memorial Center in Walthill, Nebraska as both a state landmark, later listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  In 1889, Picotte (Umonhon) was the first female Native American awarded a medical degree. 
 
OTHRP has designed both print and broadcast educational programs for individual projects with both the Nebraska Humanities and Arts Councils and the University of Nebraska, among many others.  Over the years, OTHRP has been responsible or provided significant material for the publication of at least ten books, the production of four film and television documentaries, and contributing to three websites.  
 
The organization has received numerous awards, including:

Honorable Mention of the 1998 Victor Turner Prize for Blessing For a Long Time:  The Story of the Omaha Sacred Pole by Robin Ridington and Dennis Hastings;

Several awards each for Dancing to Give Thanks and The Return of the Sacred Pole (1991), both shown at the Sundance Film Festival;

and a 1993 Governor’s Art Awards from the Nebraska Arts Council for West Meets West, a collaborative performance with t

he Omaha Symphony Orchestra of contemporary Umonhon and symphonic music, among many others.

OTHRP has been prominently noted in several books, collaborated with or contributed to dozens of scholarly articles, and featured among scores of print and broadcast news reports circulated throughout the U.S., and internationally.
 
OTHRP’s most ambitious project is construction and operation of New Moon  Moving, a world-class exhibition, archival and educational facility situated among ancestral Reservation lands of the Omaha, reflecting a proactive, ecological approach that tells the Umonhon story in terms of cultural survival and realities.  The design,
by architect Vincent Snyder, for this project has already won three top awards:

  Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture
Faculty Design Award 2002

    Boston Society of Architects' Unbuilt Architecture
Design Award 2002

50th Annual Progressive Architecture Award     
Architecture Magazine 2003

The organization has existed primarily on the dedication and commitment of its Founder/Director Dennis Hastings, a Ph.D. candidate.  OTHRPís Board of Directors presently includes several distinguished Umonhon tribal elders and non-Natives, including the current and a former Tribal Council Chairman, a former head of a national archival organization, a retired senior Library of Congress folklorist, a current museum director, a UNL professor and Fulbright Fellow, and a professor emeritus of anthropology from a Canadian University.

OTHRP's latest project on the reservation is "Bringing the past to the future." Sixty pictures have gone up in the Umonhon Nation Public Schools including a special "Hall of Honor" for Hampton Institute students. Pictures have already been placed at the Carl T. Curtis Medical Centerís Dinning Room and Lobby. Plans are underway to place another thirty pictures in the Walthill Public Schools.  A Nebraska State Humanities Council grant helped this project.

Internationally, OTHRP has facilitated Omaha Classes in Egypt.  In 2005 Dr. Wael A. Abdelhameed, Assistant Professor of Architecture started to use the plans of New Moon Moving as an model example of organic and cultural architecture in his classroom.  In 2006 Dr. Ikram Elsherif is teaching Native American Literature and Omaha Culture at South Valley University in Sohag, Egypt.

 
 
 
 

 


                                                                                            photograph by Arlen Lazaroff

Buffalo Skull

 

 

To contact  OTHRP, INC. directly:
RR 1 Box 79A
Walthill, NE 68067
402-846-5454

A museum for the people, built by the people to house the artifacts and sacred items taken from the people over a century ago.  Help right a historic wrong by being a part of the return of a culture, make a donation with or without a purchase.

If you enjoyed our site or use information found on this site in your academic or professional research, please show it by making a donation to our Interpretive Center/Museum project. People helping people makes the world a better place.

This site is the work of an all volunteer multi-cultural group of people.  We update it regularly so that it is timely and useful.  It is constantly expanding as we bring new information and new art pieces to the public.  This is a free service given willingly by people who believe in promoting artisans and in helping the Omaha people built their museum for their artifacts and sacred objects that were finally returned to them in 1991.  We ask that you join us by telling others about the site and to make a donation to the museum.  Every little bit helps.

All donations are USA tax deductible.

 

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