CARROLLTON, Ky. (July 2004) Plans for a Native American Arts
and Cultural Center at Gen. Butler State Resort Park in Carrollton,
Ky., now have the backing of state government. Although the park project
was initiated in 2003 under former Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton, its
future was uncertain until this April when Gov. Ernie Fletcher signed
into law House Bill 167. The legislation created the Kentucky Native
American Heritage Commission, which provides undergirding for
the whole project, according to Rep. Reginald Meeks (D-42nd
District), who introduced the bill to the house in January.
by Ruth Wright
left, Rep. Reginald Meeks, Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold
Tomlinson and Stephen LeBoueff survey the site of the future
center at Gen. Butler State Resort Park.
Among the duties of the commission is the preservation of Kentuckys
Native American culture and history. A substantial part of that mission
is to develop the center at General Butler. It will encompass what
was once the parks ski lodge and 85 surrounding acres.
Several members of the commission, including Meeks, commission president
Steve LeBoueff, treasurer Bruce Brading and Carroll County Judge-Executive
Harold Shorty Tomlinson, met at the park in late April
and again in mid-May to discuss ideas for the center. Among them were
plans for an interpretive center with interactive exhibits, artifacts
(both permanent and rotating), dioramas, a museum library, an art
gallery, a small gift and coffee shop and a hands-on childrens
Also discussed were ideas for outdoor areas surrounding the center,
including places for performances and pow wows and interpretive trails
with native plants.
Education will be a big part of the centers purpose, including
an accurate interpretation of the states Native American history
that will include not only exhibits at the center but also curriculum
that can be used in schools, said LeBoueff.
From its meetings the commission hopes to produce drawings and plans
to fit both the space at General Butler and the vision of the project,
according to LeBoueff. These will include architectural renderings,
a written plan and the generation of a brochure. The planning project
will cost around $50,000, LeBoueff said.
He added the commission is now on the cusp of real progress, calling
its current status a gateway or bottleneck,
which will lead into the actual planning and implementation of the
Area officials, including Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold Shorty
Tomlinson, are excited about the center. This is another excellent
attraction, not just for the state park but for our entire area,
said Tomlinson, who was park manager at General Butler from 1994 to
Tomlinson is also realistic about the commissions goals, which
will require plenty of funding to achieve. Like everything,
you have to seek some financial assistance, he said.
Funding sources are still uncertain at this time, and plans will need
to be firmed up before the commission can solicit sponsorship, said
Parks superintendent George Ward is very interested in the project,
according to Parks Department public information officer Jim Carroll,
and will lend the departments technical expertise and marketing
assistance when needed. That will include in-kind services. Ward,
appointed to the post by Gov. Fletcher, once owned hotels in Carrollton.
In anticipation of the Native American center, the Circle of Wisdom
Unity Conference in conjunction with the commission has planned a
week of events at Gen. Butler from Aug. 30 to Sept. 6. Diamond Brown,
a Cherokee from North Carolina who teaches Native American history
throughout the U.S., will appear during the festival. Other planned
events are the Indian game LaCrouse, educational speeches and Native
American talent day with names like Bo Taylor, Steve Reeves, Joseph
Firecrow, Marvin Redeye, and Bill Miller.
It is literally outstanding to see this much cooperation,
said Brading. All proceeds from the event will go toward the Native