Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian Selects Five Finalists for the National Native American Veterans Memorial

By Editorial Team on February 7, 2018

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will present the five finalists selected from an open international design competition for the National Native American Veterans Memorial. The finalists will present their design concepts and answer questions from the audience. The memorial is slated to open in 2020 on the grounds of the museum.

The design competition is a juried, two-stage process. Stage I was an international open call to submit design concepts. A blue-ribbon jury of Native and non-Native American artists, designers, and scholars selected the five design concepts to advance to Stage II. The five Stage II finalists, announced Jan. 25, will present their design concepts at the “Meet Your Designers” public event. Each will have 15 minutes to introduce themselves, explain why they entered the competition and share their concept-design drawings. The event will be webcast at

James Dinh is a public artist and landscape architect who founded studiodinh in Los Angeles to explore notions of history, place, and ecology within the context of public space. Dan SaSuWeh Jones (Ponca) is a writer, producer, and artist and is the former Chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma and Enoch Kelly Haney (Seminole) is a sculptor and artist who has served three terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and is currently serving in the Oklahoma State Senate. Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne /Arapaho) a multi-media artist and leading forensic artist, retired as the police forensic artist for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Stefanie Rocknak is a sculptor and professor of philosophy in upstate New York who focuses on figurative wood sculptures. Leroy Transfield (Māori: Ngai Tahu/Ngati Toa) is a sculptor originally from New Zealand, studied in Hawaii and founded his own studio in Orem, Utah where he currently resides.

The five Stage II finalists will have until May 1 to evolve and refine their design concepts to a level that fully explains the spatial, material, and symbolic attributes of the design and how it responds to the vision and design principles for the National Native American Veterans Memorial. The finalists’ refined Stage II design concepts will be exhibited in the Washington DC and New York museums from May 19 until June 3.

About the National Native American Veterans Memorial
The museum was commissioned by Congress to build a National Native American Veterans Memorial that gives “all Americans the opportunity to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of service by Native Americans in the Armed Forces of the United States.” Working with the National Congress of American Indians and other Native American organizations, the museum is in its third year of planning for the memorial.

To help guide this process, the museum formed an advisory committee composed of tribal leaders and Native veterans from across the country who assisted with outreach to Native American communities and veterans. From 2015 until the summer of 2017, the advisory committee and the museum conducted 35 community consultations to seek input and support for the memorial. These events brought together tribal leaders, Native veterans and community members from across the nation and resulted in a shared vision and set of design principles for the National Native American Veterans Memorial.

For more information about the memorial, visit

About the National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present and future—through partnership with Native people and others. Located on the National Mall at Fourth Street and Independence Avenue S.W., the museum is open each day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). It is accessible from L’Enfant Plaza Metrorail station via the Maryland Avenue/Smithsonian Museums exit. Follow the museum via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To learn more about the museum’s mission, visit

(via National Museum of the American Indian. Photo courtesy if National Museum of the American Indian.)