The Circle of Life Indian Cultural Center
American Indians do not have state- or federally-recognized lands in Tennessee, which makes it difficult for the ~19,000 Indians living here to seek social services, network for employment and education, and to just maintain cultural ties. To fill this gap for our People, the Native American Indian Association (NAIA) is seeking funding to construct a Museum and Community Center in Davidson County, Nashville at the cost of $1.5 million. We hope that it will provide a valuable resource for Natives in Tennessee and also the general public who wish to learn more about our culture.
We call our proposed facility the “Circle of Life”.
The architectural expression of the 6,500 ft² Community Center is intended to evoke a sense of shelter, as that given by the earth but drawn into the sky. Overall, the proposed layout correlates to our ancient spiritual concepts of the “Circle of Life.” Everything on the grounds – from the configuration of the powwow grounds, parking, and the building itself – radiates out from a central circle. This symmetry is heavily present in much of American Indian symbology, from our Medicine Wheel drawn from the cardinal directions and also the ceremonial central Drum of our ceremonies.
Features of Our Center
The site and floor plan will serve as a multi-purpose structure, including a cultural museum open to the public, and administration headquarters. Additionally, the structure will have a research library as part of the museum to educate the public at large concerning heritage and culture. We hope that revenue from the museum can fund scholarships for higher learning and cultural revitalization.
Hence all components of the project will enable us to serve our People and the Tennessee community at-large.
Visitors to the Museum will be greeted to displays exhibiting the history of Native peoples in TN, from our early lifestyles, to colonialism and our eventual Removal from the state, and with information about American Indians living today. We would like to showcase to the world our art and culture in our words from our viewpoints.
Cultural and historical scholars could utilize an archive of indigenous research to facilitate discourse, centrally housed in a location specific for our People.
Anytime our community wishes to host cultural events, our if members of the community need to host a meeting for business-related purposes, we hope that this space can provide a vital, much-needed utility.
We hope to serve as a central hub for community news and information, particularly including scholarship and employment opportunities.
NAIA Administrative Offices
As we centralize our services in one place, we hope to also have offices for the administrative staff in a place where we can be proud to be part of NAIA.
It is to be constructed from common native materials such as wood and stone, with emphasis on balancing architectural principles of economy, durability, function, and form. A fabric entrance canopy makes reference to the traditional structure used by nomadic Indian tribes of the region. Environmental support systems are to utilize state-of-the-art energy-efficient technology.
A conceptual evaluation of probable construction cost is outlined below. These costs do not include costs for land purchase, environmental assessments, or legal fees.
|Community Center building:||$ 800,000|
|Community Center parking lot:||$ 35,000|
|Community Center furnishings, moveable equipment:||(not included)|
|Architectural fees:||$ 50,000|
|Misc. Expenses (land survey, geotechnical report, document printing):||$ 15,000|