A Marine veteran and member of the southern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes on Tuesday was named the winner of a seven-month international contest to design the first national monument to Native American veterans.
Harvey Pratt’s design ― named “Warriors’ Circle of Honor” ― was picked unanimously by an eight-member jury appointed by the National Museum of the American Indian, according to the Washington Post.
Of the five finalists, the jury decided Pratt’s design was most universal of all tribes and traditions and best suited to honor the roughly 140,000 U.S. veterans who are American Indian or Alaska Native.
“It’s a great honor for me and my family and our team of people that we’ve accumulated to make this happen,” Pratt, an internationally renowned forensic artist and accomplished painter and sculptor, told the Post. “I’m so happy for our Native American veterans that they are finally going to be recognized on the Mall in Washington.”
Pratt’s design contains several features that impressed the committee. In the center of the memorial is a steel circle, a significant symbol of life and cyclicity common to many tribes. The memorial also contains beating drums, sacred fires and cleansing water, items involved in many Native American ceremonies.
A Native American veterans monument has been in the works since 1994, when Congress first authorized it. In 2015, staff from the National Museum of the American Indian began traveling the country soliciting input from tribes and veterans, the Post reports. The committee charged with selecting the memorial design received more than 120 entries before eventually settling on Pratt’s.
The Post reports that the memorial is projected to cost $8 million and is slated to open on the grounds of the American Indian museum in late 2020.