Five notable Native Americans have been selected to travel to Turkey in October to participate in a weeklong initiative spearheaded by TCA to support infrastructure development in Indian Country and promote cultural and educational exchanges between Native Americans and Turks. Participants selected for the delegation are Karen Diver, Chairwoman, The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Minnesota; Shawn Real Bird, Chairman, Montana State Tribal Economic Development Commission, Crow Tribe; Ronald J. Solimon, President and CEO, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, New Mexico; Valerian Three Irons, Professor, Native American Studies, Fort Berthold Community College, North Dakota and Andre Gallardo, Executive Director, Tunica Biloxi Economic Development Corporation, Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana.
Partnering with TCA, Istanbul Technical University (ITU), one of Europe’s leading engineering schools, will host the delegation for an ITU seminar titled “Infrastructure Development Cooperation Between Turkey and Indian Country” on October 18-26. The forum will provide an opportunity for the tribal leaders to meet and consult with distinguished ITU faculty about their infrastructure projects and challenges, including topics such as financing, water management, environmental engineering, and construction management, as well as lessons learned from Turkish construction ventures at home and abroad. In addition to infrastructure discussions, attendees will be briefed on ITU’s unique scholarship program for Native American students, network with ITU alumni who lead Turkish companies, and tour a Turkish village.
The delegation will also attend the opening reception of an exhibition of photographs depicting members of 31 Native American tribes to Istanbul as a gift to Sultan Abdulhamid II, then Ruler of the Ottoman Empire, to promote the international exchange of cultural knowledge.
Preserved in the Yildiz Palace Archives, this collection will be displayed for the first time in an exhibition titled “Native Americans: Memory of an Ottoman Connection” at the Yildiz Palace in Istanbul starting on October 24, 2011. The exhibition is co-sponsored by TCA, the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), and the Istanbul Handicrafts Center.