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Wednesday
Aug 27th

Shakopee honors astronaut, museum director

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Commander John Herrington and W. Richard West, Jr.

The first Native American to go into space and the Founding Director of the National Museum of the American Indian, were both honored with star quilts presented by Vice-Chairman Glynn A. Crooks from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Prior Lake. Commander John Herrington and W. Richard West, Jr.

The first Native American to go into space and the Founding Director of the National Museum of the American Indian, were both honored with star quilts presented by Vice-Chairman Glynn A. Crooks from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Prior Lake. Vice-Chairman Crooks presented the two star quilts during the NMAI Annual Pow Wow held the weekend of August 10-12 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

"I was honored to present these star quilts to Commander John Herrington (Ret.) and W. Richard West, Jr., because of all they both have done in their respective careers. Herrington was the first Native American in space, and West founded the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall. They are both excellent role models for youth, and they have dedicated their lives to all Native American people," said SMSC Vice-Chairman Glynn Crooks.

An enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, John Herrington was the first American Indian astronaut to serve with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the first American Indian astronaut to walk in space. Herrington has a degree in applied mathematics from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and a Master's degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. In November 2002 he flew on STS-113, the sixteenth shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station, where he carried the Chickasaw Nation's flag, an eagle feather and a flute to honor his heritage. He was also a naval aviator, logging more than 3,300 flight hours in over thirty different types of aircraft.

W. Richard West, Jr. is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. An attorney by profession, West oversaw the creation and completion of the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City, which opened October 30, 1994; the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., which opened September 21, 2004; and the Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Maryland, which houses the NMAI's 800,000-object collection spanning 10,000 years. West has a degree in American history from the University of Redlands in California, a Master's degree in American history from Harvard University and a doctor of jurisprudence degree from Stanford University School of Law.
 

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