Celebrate Women’s History Month at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

February 25, 2020
News Release

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people on stage The Mush Hole

Photo by David Hau

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., will celebrate Women’s History Month through a series of vibrant performance, film screenings and public programs. All events are free.

Film

In collaboration with 2020 One Woman, One Vote Festival, celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, the museum is screening Merata: How Mum Decolonized the Screen (2018) directed by Hepi Mita in the Rasmuson Theater, Saturday, March 7, 2 p.m. A documentary portrait of the pioneering Indigenous filmmaker and activist Merata Mita, Merata is an intimate tribute from a son about his mother that delves into the life of the first woman from an Indigenous Nation to solely direct a film anywhere in the world.

Performances

Mush Hole Dance Performance

The Mush Hole is the heart-breaking performance that moves through Canada’s residential school history with hope and empathy. The dance performance by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, created, directed and produced by Santee Smith, reflects the realities of the Mohawk Institute residential school and offers a compelling way to create dialogue and to heal. Created in collaboration with Mohawk Institute residential school survivors and school documentation, The Mush Hole is about survival and intergenerational resilience. The performance will be in the Rasmuson Theater, Saturday, March 14, 2 p.m.

The Mohawk Institute (a.k.a. The Mush Hole) is Canada’s oldest residential school after which all others were modeled. Operating in Brantford, Ontario, from 1828 to 1970, it served as a boarding school for First Nations children from Six Nations and other communities in Ontario and Quebec. It was a key tool in the effort to assimilate First Nations children into European Christian society and sever the continuity of culture from parent to child, leaving a legacy of trauma. This program is supported by the Rasmuson Foundation.

Maryta de Humahuaca in Concert 

Maryta de Humahuaca (Kolla) is an Indigenous female performing artist from the Humahuaca city in the province of Jujuy, Argentina. Her music is a fusion of contemporary and traditional Andean Music. This program is presented in collaboration with the Embassy of the Argentine Republic and will take place in the Rasmuson Theater, Saturday March 21, 3 p.m.

Festival

In celebration of Women’s History Month, “Through Her Eyes: Celebrating Indigenous Women of the Andes” augments the stories, experiences and perspectives of Indigenous women in the Andes. Cultural and content experts will lead a series of performances, demonstrations and activities giving visitors a window into the rich traditions and contemporary life of these Indigenous communities. The demonstrations will take place Saturday, March 21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Symposium

Women have long been the creative force behind Native American art. The critically acclaimed exhibition “Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists,” on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, explores the artistic achievements of Native women and establishes their rightful place in the art world. Indigenous artists Kelly Church (Ottawa/Pottawatomi), Anita Fields (Osage), Carla Hemlock (Kanienkeháka), and Jolene Rickard (Tuscarora) will participate at the symposium “Thoughts of Our People from Hearts of Our People,” for a conversation about their work and the role of women as artists in Native communities. The symposium will take place Saturday, March 28, from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at the museum’s Rasmuson Theater.

Exhibition curators Jill Ahlberg Yohe, associate curator of Native American Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Teri Greeves, an independent curator and member of the Kiowa Nation, will moderate the panel discussion following the artists’ talks. The symposium is a collaboration of the National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

About the Museum

In partnership with Native peoples and their allies, the National Museum of the American Indian fosters a richer shared human experience through a more informed understanding of Native peoples. The museum in Washington, D.C., is located on the National Mall at Fourth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. and is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Connect with the museum on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and AmericanIndian.si.edu.

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Marielba Alvarez

(202) 633-6888

alvarezma@si.edu

Public Programs