On October 11 Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Chief Executive Officer Ray Halbritter and two others were named to the American Revolution Center board of directors.
“These new board members will further our mission to engage a broad public in the understanding of the American Revolution and its ongoing legacy,” said H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, board of directors chairman, in a press release.
And that understanding includes the historical efforts of the Oneida Indian Nation. At a July gathering in Washington, D.C., Michael C. Quinn, president and CEO of the center, said the Oneidas and the Iroquois Confederacy set an example for the formation of this country and that history is too little known by the general population. The center plans to highlight those contributions by building a Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“In this museum, we will tell the story of the Oneida Nation,” Lenfest said in July. “There are so many poignant tales.”
And that museum has the support of the Oneida Indian Nation. Halbritter has previously spoken of the Oneidas involvement with the American Revolution, especially Polly Cooper, an Oneida woman who provided corn to George Washington’s sick and starving army and taught the colonial soldiers how to prepare it.
The nation showed their support for the museum with a $10 million donation, which Halbritter and other OIN members presented to the American Revolution Center in July while in Washington, D.C.
“I’m pleased to report that we have still survived since the American Revolutionary War, as the allies of this country,” Halbritter said then. “None of this would have been possible if not for the fact that more than 200 years ago, the Oneida people took up arms in support of the colonial neighbors at the Battle of Oriskany.”
Tribal leaders had the chance to begin teaching some back in July, like U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, R-NY, who hadn’t had much contact with the nation before then.
“We’re all Americans; we’re all connected; and it’s important not to forget our history and the part that the Oneidas can take credit for helping us achieve,” Hanna said. “In spite of our differences, we have a great deal in common.”
“We are the forgotten allies,” added Chuck Fougnier, Wolf Clan Council Member. “We should be forgotten no more.”
Richard Vague, a private investor and managing partner of Gabriel Investments, and Gordon S. Wood, a scholar of the American Revolution, were also named to the center’s board of directors.