Artist Doug Hyde with “Milky Way Woman” at Harrah’s Resort Southern California. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Harrah’s Resort Southern California unveiled on Thursday the lofty bronze statue of a Luiseño Indian woman as the latest piece in a program to bring fine art to the North County casino.

“Milky Way Woman” by noted Native American artist Doug Hyde, who has sculpture at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, depicts a woman in tribal dress holding up baskets amid the stars.

“The women took care of us, nurtured us, and fed us,” said Tribal Chairman Bo Mazzetti after the piece was unveiled. The stars, he added, have a particular significance because “when our people pass, they go to the Milky Way.”

The 10-foot statue is situated at the valet entrance to the hotel and casino, so it will be the first thing most visitors see.

“We have a very diverse customer base, and a lot of our customers like art,” said Darrell Pilant, vice president and general manager of the resort and casino.

There are five other art installations in the casino north of Valley Center, but Pilant said “Milky Way Woman” is the first of four that will be symbolic of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.