The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian celebrates its fourth annual Living Earth Festival Friday, July 19, through Sunday, July 21. This year’s festival includes live music and dance performances, a Native cooking competition, a film screening, crafts and storytelling for families, an outdoor farmers market featuring local produce and game, a discussion of tribal environmental activism, beading demonstrations and workshops on cheese making and sculpture. Highlights include:
Indian Summer Showcase Concert
On Saturday at 5 p.m., this concert in the Potomac Atrium will feature the talents of Quetzal Guerrero, a Latin soul singer, violinist, guitarist and percussionist; She King, an indie rock outfit from Toronto fronted by Six Nations vocalist Shawnee Talbot; and a performance by Grammy Award-winning group Ozomatli, a “culture-mashing” group whose music embraces influences from hip-hop, salsa, dancehall, cumbia, samba and funk.
Native Cooking Competition
On Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., (cooking from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.), Cherokee Chef Don McClellan, an executive chef with Cherokee Nation Entertainment, will compete against Navajo Chef Freddie Bitsoie in preparing appetizers, entrees and desserts that incorporate blueberries, a fruit indigenous to North America. Mitsitam Cafe Chef Richard Hetzler will emcee the event, and the competing chefs will be available for a Q&A before the cooking begins.
Dinner and a Movie
On Friday evening, the museum’s Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe will offer an à la carte menu from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. before the 7 p.m. screening of Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West in the Rasmuson Theater. Narrated by Robert Redford, the film highlights the lives and thoughts of six individuals living and working in the Colorado River basin and examines the issue of balancing the interests and rights of cities, agriculture, the environment and Native communities when it comes to water rights. The screening is free, but online registration is recommended. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Outdoor Farmers Market
On Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors can purchase locally grown produce and game at an outdoor farmers market on the museum’s Welcome Plaza. Local produce and game—including buffalo, venison, beaver, porcupine and duck—will be available from Common Good, Coonridge Organic Cheese Farm, Chuck’s Butcher Shop and more.
On Saturday at 2 p.m., Tribal ecoAmbassadors, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, will host a discussion in the Rasmuson Theater on the roles of Native professors and students in addressing environmental issues. The panel discussion focuses on local solutions to preserve public health, reduce carbon footprints and increase sustainability.
On Friday at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. in the imagiNATIONS Activity Center, Muscogee Creek artist Lisan Tiger Blaire will host a sculpture workshop on human and animal forms. Free tickets are available at the imagiNATIONS Activity Center. The workshops are first come, first served. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, visitors can enjoy a beading demonstration with Cherokee and Potawatomi artist Peggy Fontenot.
Visitors are encouraged to tag their photos using #LivingEarth. Favorites will be featured on the museum’s Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.
# # #