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To celebrate the opening of “A Song for the Horse Nation,” a major exhibition that traces the horse’s influence on American Indian tribes, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian welcomes the D.C. Mounted Police and equestrian and artist Kennard Real Bird (Crow), who will present the U.S. and Crow Nation flags on horseback Saturday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m. on the museum’s outdoor Welcome Plaza. Following the presentation of the colors, museum staffer K.J. Jacks (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) will perform the U.S. national anthem.
Museum staffers will conduct workshops on “How to Dress a Horse,” which will use a full-size horse mannequin in spectacular regalia, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the museum’s Potomac Atrium. There will also be hands-on activities for children featuring Plains-style ledger art.
On Sunday at 11:30 a.m. in the museum’s new imagiNATIONS Activity Center, award-winning children’s book author and illustrator S.D. Nelson (Lakota/Standing Rock Sioux) will host a special storytelling session of Hok-Noth-Da (which means “Did you hear?” in the Shawnee language), a reading program designed for children ages 4-8 featuring Native books. At 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nelson will also explain the cultural and historical significance of painted horses and symbols in the museum’s Rasmuson Theater.
Juanita Fogarty Growing Thunder (Assiniboine/Sioux), a noted bead worker and porcupine quill worker who creates traditional Northern Plains regalia, will offer demonstrations Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the museum’s Potomac Atrium. Cody Harjo (Seminole/Otoe/Creek), a cultural interpreter for the museum, will offer special gallery talks in the exhibition on the half hour from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the museum’s third level.
A book signing will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. outside the museum’s Rasmuson Theater with museum curator Emil Her Many Horses (Oglala Lakota), who co-wrote the exhibition book of the same name with George P. Horse Capture (A’aninin), the museum’s senior counselor to the director emeritus. S.D. Nelson (Lakota/Standing Rock Sioux) will also be signing copies of his children’s books, including his latest title, Black Elk’s Vision: A Lakota Story.
The museum has also partnered with the Washington International Horse Show, which commemorates its 53rd year Oct. 25-30 at the Verizon Center. Together, the two organizations will celebrate these occasions with free family programs at the Verizon Center Saturday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Family programs include a live war-pony painting demonstration with Real Bird from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 12 to 1:30 p.m., 15-minute book readings with Nelson at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., and workshops on Plains-style ledger art with museum staffers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A free shuttle service between the museum and the Verizon Center will be provided by Reston Limousine on Saturday.
“A Song for the Horse Nation,” runs through Jan. 7, 2013. The full press release about the exhibition with links to high-resolution images is at http://newsdesk.si.edu/releases/song-horse-nation-gallops-washington.The exhibition’s website is at www.AmericanIndian.si.edu/exhibitions/horsenation. To visit the exhibition’s ongoing blog, go to http://blog.nmai.si.edu/main/a-song-for-the-horse-nation/. For the full schedule of events, visit http://bit.ly/ruBTZb
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