In The News

Native American Blessing planned at site of future Ft. Worth plaza

by NDG Staff Writer | Jun 04, 2013

FORT WORTH – The Trinity River Vision Authority (TRVA) will host a Native American ground blessing at the future site of the John V. McMillan Plaza and the Major Ripley Allen Arnold Monument on Thursday, June 6 at 10 a.m. The event – to be held at the confluence of the Clear and West Forks of the Trinity River – will feature Native American music and dance, a replica of the statue of Major Arnold, renderings of the plaza and remarks by community leaders. The public is welcome to attend.

“We believe that it’s important to honor the Native Americans, who lived here before Major Arnold founded the fort, “ said J.D. Granger, executive director of the Trinity River Vision Authority. “This solemn ceremony gives us a chance to bless the ground before we begin construction on the plaza.”

The ground blessing is based on the concept of the Native American medicine wheel or sacred hoop, which is considered a major symbol of peaceful interaction among all living beings on Earth. Eddie Sandoval, an Apache spiritual leader, will perform the ceremony, which will be attended by more than 175 children from Charles Nash Elementary School and Alice Carlson Applied Learning Center. Imagination Celebration of Fort Worth (ICFW), a local educational organization, is providing transportation for the children and facilitating their participation in this unique event. In preparation, ICFW partnered with local historians Jack Edmondson, Doug Harman, Bob Holmes and Clara Ruddell to provide students with an in-school program focused on the history of Ripley Arnold and the founding of the fort.

At the conclusion of the ground blessing, The Sovo Family of Drummers and Dancers: The Lords of the Plains, will present Native American music and dances. The members of this group have toured nationally and internationally, appearing in popular movies (Lonesome Dove) and major publications (National Geographic).

Scheduled to open in 2014, John V. McMillan Plaza honors two important figures in the city’s history. The centerpiece of the plaza is a 12-foot-tall bronze statue of the City’s founder, Major Ripley Arnold (1817-1853), who established a post on the Trinity River in 1849 and constructed a fort named after Gen. William J. Worth. The statue was created by sculptor Archie St. Clair and was made possible by a donation from the Anfin family in honor of the late John V. McMillan.

Ripley Statue in ProgressJohn V. McMillan (1913-2001) was a successful businessman who founded Coors Distributing Company and was very active in civic affairs. He served as the president of the North Fort Worth Business Association and the Mexican American Chamber of Commerce (now the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce). In addition, Mr. McMillan served on the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee and was also a chairman of the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The plaza will be located near the original site of the fort, directly behind TCC Trinity River campus at the confluence of the Clear Fork and the West Fork of the Trinity River. The plaza will be a Tarrant Regional Water District facility, managed by the TRVA as a part of Trinity Uptown.

“The Trinity River is why we are here,” said Granger. “As we move forward with Uptown revitalization, it’s important that we embrace Fort Worth’s rich history and show our recognition with a memorial on the banks of the river.”