National Museum of the American Indian Celebrates American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

November 1, 2010

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will host a variety of free public programs to celebrate American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month in November, including dance, theater, art workshops and daily film screenings. This year’s theme is “Promoting Healthy Families, Cultures and the Environment.”

To kick off Heritage Month, the museum presents Family Celebration Harvest Festival on Saturday, Nov. 6, and Sunday, Nov. 7, between 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., in the Potomac Atrium. Featuring two days of food demonstrations, theater performances, and hands-on crafts, the festival explores how Native communities throughout the Americas celebrate the harvest season. Free activities include weaving cornhusks, creating masa (a cornmeal dough used in indigenous cooking) and making tamales. The local Mayan community will also develop a special puppetry presentation based on the Popul Vuh, a Mesoamerican creation myth.

Experience the authentic regalia, rhythmic drumming, skilled footwork and traditional vocal and flute music of an authentic Native American powwow with Larry Yazzie of the Meskwaki Nation and the Native Pride Dancers on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 10:30 a.m. and noon, Friday, Nov. 5th at 10:30 a.m. and noon and Saturday, Nov. 6th at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in Rasmuson Theater. Learn about the Buffalo, Eagle and Round Dances and how they celebrate animals, crops, the sun and wind. Reservations are required for Thursday’s and Friday’s performances. Call Discovery Theater to reserve seating for groups and individuals: (202) 633-8700 or visit http://discoverytheater.org. Saturday’s performances are open to the public, first-come, first-seated.

Join museum historian and author Mark Hirsch on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at noon in the Rasmuson Theater for a discussion with museum director Kevin Gover (Pawnee) about the newly published book, “American Indians and American Presidents.” Focused on the major turning points in Native American history from the age of George Washington to the present day, the book reveals how American Indians interpreted the power and prestige of the presidency and advanced their agenda for tribal sovereignty. A Q&A session will follow.

In honor of Veterans’ Day, photojournalist Steven Clevenger (Osage) will talk about his book, “America’s First Warriors: Native Americans and Iraq” on Thursday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. in Rasmuson Theater. Clevenger spent three years following Pueblo, Apache, Navajo, Osage, and other Native men and women into war in Iraq and back home again. In addition to the photographs taken in Iraq, images of traditional coming-home ceremonies such as the War Mothers’ Dance, Welcoming Home/Cleansing Ceremony and other rituals are documented.

Witness award-winning violinist, flutist and storyteller Arvel Bird as he combines tales of Native American spirituality, wisdom and beauty with lively and haunting melodies on Sunday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in Rasmuson Theater. Both performances will be webcast live at www.AmericanIndian.si.edu/webcasts.

On Wednesday, Nov. 17 and Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Rasmuson Theater, the theater troupe of the United States Naval Academy will perform “Green Grow the Lilacs,” a play by Lynn Riggs (Cherokee, 1899-1954) that was later made into the hit musical “Oklahoma!” Recognized as one of America’s most engaging dramatists, Riggs was the only American Indian writing for the Broadway stage during the first half of the twentieth century.

Throughout November, Rasmuson Theater will screen “A Thousand Roads,” (2005, 40 min.) at 3:30 p.m. every day except Wednesdays. Directed by Chris Eyre (Cheyenne/Arapaho) and produced by the museum, the film threads together four stories, taking us into the life of a stressed-out Mohawk stockbroker in Manhattan; a young Inupiat girl sent to live with her grandmother in Barrow, Alaska; a Navajo gang member who must find his core values in his reservation on the mesas of New Mexico; and a Quechua healer in Peru, attempting to save a sick child.

All programs are subject to change. For a complete schedule of public programs, visit www.AmericanIndian.si.edu.

High-Res Photos: http://newsdesk.si.edu/

SOURCE Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

Source: newswire

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