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Indiana Historical Bureau

American Indians > American Indians in Indiana Exhibit: In Their Own Words > Rebecca Martin Rebecca Martin

Rebecca Victorino Martin

Name: Rebecca Victorino Martin

Tribe: Acoma Pueblo

Tribal Position: I have the honor of belonging to the Eagle Clan and I am a child of the Yellow Corn Clan. Tribal offices and responsibilities are held only on the reservation. If one holds a position with the tribe, they must reside on the reservation for as long as the term or appointment might be. I come from a very traditional family. My grandfather was Elder of the tribe and appointed Tribal Chief several times. My grandmother was a potter. My brother served as Tribal Councilman for 12 years as did an uncle. My mother is currently a Clan Mother and has been for approximately 20 years. This is a lifetime position. My nephew (brother’s son) is in his second term as Lt. Governor. I have three aunts who are Medicine Women. These positions are also lifetime.

Profession: In my corporate career I was a Warranty Analyst for Caterpillar Tractor Company’s Lift Truck Division. I am currently President of Sky City Inc., dba Bear Creek Gallery. Bear Creek Gallery is a Native American and Southwestern art, jewelry and interior décor specialty store. My husband, Dennis, and I own and operate the store.

Education: Laguna Acoma High School, Laguna, New Mexico (graduate), Griswold College, Cleveland, Ohio (graduate).

Favorite Sports: I hope the Browns and Colts have a great season.

Hobbies/Special Interests: I love sewing and Free Cell. Special interests are, of course, Native American issues. I am the President of the Indiana American Indian Theatre Company. The Company does one performance per year, however, by special request, we have performed “Shadow Speakers of Night Sky Stories” at IUPUI and in August we performed in Decatur, Indiana. The mission of the Company is to tell stories of Native American people in today’s world as well as historic.
I am the Native American consultant for Pike Township School’s Cultural and Diversity programs where I give lectures on Native American people to educators and school personnel.

Religion: As Americans and American Indians, we each have our own religion and I was taught to respect all. I believe and practice my Acoma religion and spirituality. My husband is Catholic and I respect his religion.

Ways you celebrate being an American Indian: Educating people about American Indians at the Gallery and off-site presentations. The Theatre Company recently held a Fashion Show to show the difference in dress among several nations and tribes. Bear Creek often has artists demonstrating their works of art. I am proud to present these artists and their beautiful creations.

Ways you preserve your culture and heritage: My periodic trips to New Mexico helps keep me in balance with my city life and traditional beliefs. I practice my spirituality and religion on a daily basis and see to it that my children also practice their heritage and culture. I participate in my religious activities in New Mexico.

Do you speak your tribal language? I am very fluent.

Misconceptions: We are not a people of the past, we are not all from the Southwest, we don’t all live in tipis, we don’t go around wearing feathers in our hair, and we don’t all wear buckskin fringed outfits. We cannot be boxed into one shoebox. There are over 500 different tribes across the United States and we are all different. We speak different languages, have different habitats and practice different religions. We have some basic similarities, but we are all very different..

Offensive words/actions: One in particular: A “red skin” is a potato not an Indian. I think there is also a “red skin onion”. I think the use of some mascots and “Indian” performances by non-Indians during half time festivities at sports activities are insensitive and not appropriate.