During its annual awards luncheon on April 15, the Museum Association of Arizona, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the enrichment and support of Arizona’s museum community, presented its Community Support Award to the Huhugam Ki Museum and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. The award is given to an individual or institution whose activities have eminently enhanced the standing or image of Arizona’s museums or have otherwise contributed to their future growth.
Under the Cultural Resources Department of the SRPMIC, the Huhugam Ki Museum has designed and conducted various programs for the Community in order to perpetuate and enhance the traditional lifestyle of the Onk Akimel O’odham and Xalychidom Piipaash. The staff of the museum continues to develop its educational programs within the realm of traditional foods, arts and cultural knowledge. In the nomination letter for the award, it was noted of the SRPMIC that “In addition to serving the people’s basic needs, like health care and education, they have the intent of enhancing the survival of their distinct culture” and “The Huhugam Ki Museum supports the Community’s cultural preservation efforts, just as the Community supports the museum.”
Gary Owens, manager of the Huhugam Ki Museum, said of the award, “It was a surprise to hear that an outside organization had been following the work that we do in the Salt River Community. We as a staff do not solicit acknowledgment—as we learned when we were growing up not to be cemskek—so to be nominated by our peers from the Pueblo Grande Museum and the Mesa Historical Museum was a wonderful surprise. Then to hear that we won made the entire staff excited. Our biggest breakthrough will come when we have Community members who will walk into the museum on a regular basis and see what we have to offer. The museum is here for the people and for them to learn and experience their O’odham and Piipaash way of life.”