Charlotte Buchanan-Yale says she "did not move to Arkansas to be somebody, to be with somebody or for a job. I just placed my intent to have purposeful work. It was a cosmic 'put me in, coach' request." Being the director of the Museum of Native American History in Bentonville is her dream job.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and the path that led you to your current job?
A. I have been wrangling artists and doing community revitalization and event production since I was 25 years old. From Moscow, Idaho, home of the University of Idaho, to Seattle, Wash., and now Bentonville, Ark., it appears that I reinvent myself with a new challenge every 13 years. When I chose to relocate in Arkansas, it was to be close to my last family members, to be with them as they left the planet. The only other plan I had was knowing that I had some skills to offer one day for the next project that would appear.
Q. What was your first impression of MONAH?
A. When I was brought into MONAH to see the museum, I thought I would finish my visit in 20 minutes. Over seven years later, I'm still here and I love my job. It is an honor to walk through the great doors every day. And I love that from [founders] David and Tina Bogle to our staff and onward to our presenters, we have created a wonderful warm family. I have to believe in the work I do. And never in my life have I believed in something more than the work we do at MONAH.
Q. Can you talk about an average week for you in your current position?
A. Let's just say that I have to be flexible and wear many hats. I try to give each person who walks into MONAH my full attention to entertain 15 minutes of "yes" as I listen to new ideas, proposals and prospective collaborations.
Q. What do you love about your job? What are the best parts, the highlights, what makes you excited to come to work?
A. I love working collaboratively. My instincts were correct about moving to Northwest Arkansas to once again be at the beginning of a growing community. I love the access of support with our museum and entertainment partners -- where you have an idea, pick up the phone and explore how to make it even better. What makes me excited every day about coming to work is that I have watched the spiral of my life, and I know that I am following my destiny.
Q. What do you hope you leave as a lasting legacy at MONAH?
A. The younger staff -- who will go out into the world and make it a better place with their passion to do the work and leave egos on the other side of the door -- is my legacy. As for MONAH, it has become a place that attracts people who also want to join our mission of respecting the past and connecting tradition and history with present day indigenous people to make a difference. If we can inspire future generations, I believe our legacy will always continue.
Q. What are you proudest of in 2019?
A. That our small staff has created and produced such a stellar lineup of events that included the Native American Cultural Celebration: Tradition Through Pop Culture. The NACC was the moment that I witnessed MONAH become a cultural destination.
NAN What's Up on 01/12/2020
Print Headline: Charlotte Buchanan-Yale