NORFOLK, Va. – The Chrysler Museum of Art recently unveiled a bronze plaque recognizing the Indigenous Peoples, the traditional stewards of Tsenacommacah, the land on which the museum is located. The plaque is placed in Huber Court. The acknowledgment affirms the Chrysler Museum’s commitment to honoring the Indigenous Peoples whose cultural heritage and artwork is currently held in its collection.
The Chrysler Museum formed a Native Advisory Committee in 2022 to help shape the institution’s programming and indigenous collection through support and feedback. The committee is made up of 12 individuals from across the state, representing several indigenous cultures:
Ken Custalow – Chickahominy Eastern Division, Tribal Relations Manager, Dominion Energy
Sylvia Nery-Strickland – Member, Cheroenhaka Nottoway Tribe
Keith Anderson – Principal Chief, Nansemond Indian Nation
Lynette Allston – Chief, Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia
Shaleigh Howells – Cultural Resource Director & Museum Director, Pamunkey Indian Tribe
Bernard Means, Ph.D. – Teaching Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University
Nikki Bass – Nansemond Indian Nation, Tribal Council Vice Chair
Danielle Moretti-Langholtz, Ph.D. – Curator of Native American Art, Muscarelle Museum of Art
Kevin Krigsvold – CEO/President, Pamunkey Indian Enterprises-Professional Services
Michael Cloud Butler – Ojibwe American Indian from Lac Courte Orielles, Wisconsin & Artist
Hans VonKruger – SVP, Market Executive – Bank of America
Lee Lockamy – Chief Emeritus, Nansemond Indian Nation
“On behalf of the Nansemond Indian Nation, we are very proud to join our sister tribes, the Chrysler Museum of Art, and supporting partners to celebrate the acknowledgment and significance of indigenous people in the Norfolk community,” said Chief Keith Anderson, Nansemond Indian Nation. “As we move forward, it is imperative that initiatives like this continue throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, we applaud and thank the Chrysler for its efforts to be an invaluable pioneer in endeavors such as these.” Chief Anderson added.
The ceremony, held on July 21 at 11:30 am, began with a blessing by Chief Mark T. Fallingstar Custalow of the Mattaponi Indian Tribe. Remarks were given by Chief Keith Anderson, Nansemond Indian Nation; Chief Walter David “Red Hawk” Brown, III, Cheroenhaka Nottoway Indian Tribe of Southampton; Kevin Krigsvold, CEO/President, Pamunkey Indian Enterprises; LaVoris Pace, Deputy City Manager, City of Norfolk; Erik Neil, Macon and Joan Brock Director of the Chrysler Museum of Art; and Kirk Levy, Esq., Vice Chairman, Chrysler Museum Board of Trustees. A group of dignitaries and members of the public attended the dedication.
“We want to thank the members of the Native Advisory Council for devoting their time and expertise to the Chrysler Museum,” said Macon and Joan Brock Director of the Chrysler Museum of Art Erik Neil. “Their ideas, thoughts and guidance have provided a great impact, and we appreciate the different voices this group brings to the table. This partnership furthers our commitment to reaching as many in the community as we can and is vital to our mission of bringing art and people together,” Neil added.
“All ‘Land Acknowledgement Statements’ are extremely important for two reasons. The first being that Indigenous People originally inhabited this land and second, that we are still here with the land and our collective voice should be heard,” said Michael Cloud-Butler, an Ojibwe American Indian.
To learn more about the land acknowledgment, please visit www.chrysler.org/land