SPS+ Architects complete concept for the American Indian Veterans Memorial

“The hummingbird is widespread in many tribal stories – a storykeeper. They are spiritual messengers associated with joy, healing, and harmony. It is with purpose the location of the Memorial is at the underside of the ‘bird’s wing’ to further symbolize peace and healing”

SPS+ Architects recently completed conceptual design for the American Indian Veterans Memorial. The Memorial, a unique interpretive landscape design, is proposed to be located at Steele Indian School Park in Central Phoenix. The site is west of the water pond and north of the historic Indian School buildings.

Steele Indian School Park is located within the central core of downtown Phoenix. Nestled in a diverse neighborhood, the park serves as a place for recreation and public activities. Its purpose, as originally planned, has been to provide an open, green space within the cultural and historic context of place. This is a place that has untouched beginnings yet lasting memories to many. It is here the Memorial will co-exist with its surroundings, bridging history with the timelessness of urban renewal, and where indigenous tribes continue to offer a sacred voice.

The Memorial’s design not only captures the essence and spirit of the project itself but blends many conversations, from City of Phoenix representatives, Tribal veterans family members, and many Tribal Nations who have supported this journey for two decades. Kent Ware, Vice President with American Indian Veterans Memorial Organization explains, “The memorial will honor all American Indian Veterans.”

The design team at SPS+ Architects understood that the sacred eagle plays a critical role in the story behind the American Indian Veterans Memorial. The eagle symbolizes freedom, spirituality, mystery, and journey – and therefore becomes a leading concept associated with reflection and remembrance.

The Memorial will integrate into the landscape seamlessly with its well-considered design. Richard K Begay Jr., AIA, Associate & Lead Designer at SPS+ Architects states, “Arriving at processional stairs, visitors will be greeted by two upright steel structures, which artistically express an eagle’s wings – they ‘Carry the Spirit of the Warrior’ from day to night. As a cycle that never stops, therefore, the memory of the American Indian Veteran will be lasting and forever.”

SPS+ Architects is legacy architectural firm dedicated to providing design services since 1960. The firm has emerged as one of Arizona’s lead firms offering full architectural and interior design services – which include the firm’s specialty in Native American design. SPS+ Architects designs in context of the community where valuable cultural input and sharing of ideas ensures an all inclusive understanding toward building culturally sensitive and community driven projects.

This project is slated to be built in Phoenix and has been 20 years in the making. The current cost of the memorial is about $600,000 and the AIVM Organization is still currently seeking funding. The contact for AIVMO is Kent Ware, Vice President. An online version of the Programming Document can be viewed here:

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