October 22, 2004 Keynote Speeches Celebrate American Indian Heritage Month at the Library of Congress

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Michelle Bernard (202) 707-8313

The Office of Workforce Diversity in the Library of Congress presents two keynote speeches in celebration of American Indian Heritage Month in November.

Billy Mills, 1964 Olympic 10,000 meter gold medalist and co-author of the book "Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self Understanding," will mark the start of American Indian Heritage Month events with a keynote address sponsored jointly with the Center for the Book at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, in Madison Hall of the Library's James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. A book signing will follow the presentation.

W. Richard West, director of the National Museum of the American Indian, will deliver the closing keynote address at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23, in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building.

All events are free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are necessary.

"Our commitment to diversity includes increased outreach to the Native American community regarding career opportunities at the Library," said Gilbert Sandate, director of the Library's Office of Workforce Diversity. "Our monthlong celebration of American Indian Heritage Month is a perfect opportunity to reach this vital community."

Born in Pine Ridge, S.D., Billy Mills is an Oglala Sioux Indian, who grew up on a reservation. He first became involved in distance running while attending the Haskell Institute, an Indian school in Lawrence, Kan. He continued running at the University of Kansas, where he won individual titles and brought his team to victory in the 1959 and 1960 NCAA outdoor national championships.

While serving in the Marine Corps, Mills qualified for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. Setting a new record of 28 minutes and 24 seconds, Mills became the first American to win the 10,000 meter run in an Olympics. The 1984 movie "Running Brave" is based on his victory.

Raised in Muskogee, Okla., W. Richard West is a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and a peace chief of the Southern Cheyenne. With a bachelor's degree in American history from the University of Redlands in Calif., a master's degree in American History from Harvard University and a law degree from Stanford University School of Law, West has devoted his professional life and much of his personal life working with American Indians on cultural, educational, legal and government issues. As a partner in the law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, he served as general counsel to numerous tribes and organizations and represented his clients before federal, state and tribal courts, various federal agencies and the U.S. Congress. As director of the National Museum of the American Indian, which opened on the National Mall in Washington on Sept. 21, West is responsible for all facets of the museum's operation, including fundraising.

For more information on these and other American Indian Heritage Month events, contact Michelle Bernard, (202) 707-8313, or see the Library's online Calendar of Events at www.loc.gov/loc/events/.


PR 04-186
ISSN 0731-3527