The Smithsonian

Smithsonian Celebrates American Indian Heritage Month

Press Release   •   Nov 01, 2011 05:15 EDT

The Smithsonian celebrates American Indian Heritage Month throughout November with a series of performances, lectures, exhibitions, family activities and tours at various museums. All programs are free unless otherwise indicated. For a full calendar of events, visit www.smithsonianeducation.org/heritage.

Feature Event

The Smithsonian will present “Chikasha Poya: We Are Chickasaw,” a three-day event
Nov. 3-5 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day at the National Museum of the American Indian. The Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma celebrates its tribal heritage and history with music, dance, storytelling, cultural arts and traditional foods. Visitors can take part in hands-on activities and watch demonstrations of beading, woodworking, pottery, weaving and more.

Performances

The National Museum of the American Indian will present performances by the Native Pride Dancers Saturday, Nov. 12, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the museum’s Rasmuson Theater. Visitors can experiences the excitement of a powwow as the Native Pride Dancers celebrate their American Indian Cultures through music and movement.

Films

Throughout November, the National Museum of the American Indian will screen Silent Thunder (27 minutes, 2006), a short documentary that tells the inspiring story of Stanford Addison, an Arapaho elder who, from his wheelchair, has become a master “horse whisperer.” The screenings will take place every day except Wednesdays at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. in the museum’s Rasmuson Theater.

Lectures

The Smithsonian Associates will present “Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears,” a lecture by Theda Perdue of the University of North Carolina. Perdue will discuss the expulsion of Native people from their homeland at a time when Americans were proclaiming advances in democracy. Her lecture also will explore the legacy of the Indian Removal laws, not only for the descendents of the dispossessed, but for the United States as a whole. The lecture will take place Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 6:45 p.m. in the S. Dillion Ripley Center. Tickets are required. For tickets and more information about the lecture, call (202) 633-3030 or visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.

Family Activities

The Smithsonian Associates and the National Museum of the American Indian will present world-champion fancy dancer Larry Yazzie (Meskwaki Nation) and the Native Pride Dancers Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 10:15 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the museum’s Rasmuson Theater. Yazzie and the Native Pride Dancers will perform music and movements passed down by ancestors. The show will feature the athletic hoop dance, spectacular costumes and sacred songs from the Northern Plains. Tickets are required. For tickets and more information about the lecture, call (202) 633-3030 or visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.

The Smithsonian Associates and the National Museum of the American Indian will present “The Man Who Sailed Away: A Tribal Tale of a Tlingit Explorer,” Tuesday, Nov. 15, and Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 10:15 and 11:30 a.m. in the museum’s Rasmuson Theater. Steve Johnson (Tlingit) will share the story of three Alaskan tribal hunters who were swept away in a small canoe to tropical islands 2,800 miles away. Johnson will tell the story in the traditional Tlingit way, with voice and drum. Tickets are required. For tickets and more information about the lecture, call (202) 633-3030 or visit www.smithsonianassociates.org.

On Saturdays and Sundays throughout November, the National Museum of the American Indian will offer hands-on activities for young visitors in the imagiNATIONS Activity Center on the third floor. The fun happens from 2 to 4 p.m.

Also on Saturdays and Sundays throughout November, the National Museum of the American Indian will present Hok-noth-da? (Did You Hear?) Listen! I Have a Story to Tell! This 30-minute reading program is designed for student groups (grades K–4) and families. Each program includes additional information about the indigenous groups introduced in the story. The reading program will take place at 11:15 a.m. in the museum’s imagiNATIONS Activity Center on the third floor.

The National Postal Museum will celebrate American Indian Heritage Month will a series of family activities Saturday, Nov. 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the museum’s atrium. Events will include a story time and a stamp-collecting activity.

The country of Chile celebrates its Native culture with an art market, an exhibition of traditional handcrafts, demonstrations and a sampling of traditional foods in the Potomac Atrium of the National Museum of the American Indian Thursday, Nov. 17, through Sunday, Nov. 20, from
10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day.

Tours

In celebration of American Indian Heritage Month, the Smithsonian American Art Museum will offer several tours that feature the work of artist George Catlin, who visited 50 tribes west of the Mississippi between 1830 and 1836. Tours will take place Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 12:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 12:30 p.m. Participants should meet in the F Street lobby.

Throughout November, the Renwick Gallery’s daily docent-led highlights tour will feature works by Pueblo artists Julian and Maria Martinez. The tours take place Monday through Friday at noon and Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. Participants should meet at the information desk.

The National Museum of the American Indian’s Interpreter’s Choice Tour takes place each day in November at 3 p.m. Cultural Interpreters (Native docents) lead a 45-minute to one-hour tour of their favorite highlights of the National Museum of the American Indian. Participants should meet in the Potomac Atrium. The museum also offers an American Indian Highlights Tour Monday through Friday at 1:30 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. The tour offers a general overview of its building and its grounds, its history and its current exhibitions. Participants should meet in the Potomac Atrium. 

Exhibition

The National Museum of the American Indian’s presents “A Song for the Horse Nation,” an exhibition featuring 122 historic objects, artwork, photographs, songs and personal accounts, that tells the epic story of how the return of horses to the Americas by Christopher Columbus changed everything for Indians—from the way they travelled, hunted and waged war to how they celebrated generosity, exhibited bravery and conducted ceremonies. The exhibition shows how horse trading among tribes was the conduit for the extensive spread of mustangs in the Plains and Plateau regions of the United States, as well as how horses became the inspiration for new artistic expressions and rich traditions that continue to this day.

“A Song for the Horse Nation,” runs through Jan. 7, 2013. The exhibition’s website is at www.AmericanIndian.si.edu/exhibitions/horsenation and the exhibition’s ongoing blog is at http://blog.nmai.si.edu/main/a-song-for-the-horse-nation

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