National Museum of the American Indian and StoryCorps Honor National Day of Listening and American Indian Heritage Day 2010

November 16, 2010
News Release

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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian invites the public to hear the personal stories of its Native American staffers as part of American Indian Heritage Day and the StoryCorps’ 2010 National Day of Listening, a holiday started by the nonprofit organization StoryCorps in 2008. Both holidays fall on the same day this year—Friday, Nov. 26.

The National Day of Listening is an effort to encourage all Americans to honor a friend, loved one, or member of their community by interviewing them about their lives. StoryCorps has created a free do-it-yourself interview guide with equipment recommendations and interview instructions available online at www.nationaldayoflistening.org.

The museum will be taking part in the 2010 National Day of Listening by recording five interviews with Native American staffers representing eight different tribes. A new interview will be posted daily throughout the week of Nov. 22 at the museum’s blog: http://blog.nmai.si.edu/. Interviews include:

  • Museum Director Kevin Gover (Pawnee), on his childhood in Comanche County, Okla., and his parents’ work in the American Indian civil rights movement of the 1960s.

  • Repatriation coordinator Terry Snowball (Prairie Band Potawatomi/Wisconsin Ho-Chunk), on the museum’s 2004 opening procession, which brought more than 25,000 indigenous people from across the Western hemisphere to the National Mall—the largest gathering of tribal communities in U.S. history.

  • Cultural interpreter Ramsey Weeks (Assiniboine/Hidatsa Nation), on using objects in the museum—and photographs of himself—to dispel myths about American Indian tribes one tour group at a time.

  • Jacquetta Swift (Comanche/Fort Sill Apache), the museum’s repatriation manager, on how homesickness and a powwow brought her to the museum nearly 20 years ago.

  • KJ Jacks (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma), of the museum’s special events department, on exploring her mixed heritage and family history.

“What better way to honor American Indian Heritage Day than by sharing our experiences and encouraging indigenous people across the Western Hemisphere do the same,” Gover said. “These stories are as valuable as any historic object, and as inspiring and unique as any exhibition.”

About the National Museum of the American Indian

Established in 1989 through an Act of Congress, the National Museum of the American Indian is an institution of living cultures dedicated to advancing knowledge of the life, languages, literature, history and arts of contemporary Native people of North and South America. NMAI includes its building on the National Mall; the George Gustav Heye Center, a permanent museum in lower Manhattan; and the Cultural Resources Center, a research and collections facility in Suitland, Md. The museum will celebrate Native American Heritage Day Friday, Nov. 26, with a free performance by the Acoma Pueblo Dancers of New Mexico. Staff will also hand out free buttons commemorating the day to visitors. For more details, visit www.AmericanIndian.si.edu.

About StoryCorps

Founded in 2003 by MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Dave Isay, StoryCorps’ mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of their lives. Each week, millions of Americans listen to StoryCorps’ award-winning broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition. StoryCorps has published two best-selling books: Listening Is an Act of Love in 2007 and Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps in 2010. For more information, or to listen to stories online, visit www.storycorps.org.

About The Fetzer Institute

The 2010 National Day of Listening is sponsored by the Fetzer Institute. The Fetzer Institute advances love and forgiveness as powerful forces that can transform the human condition. The Institute engages with people and programs working to bring the power of love and forgiveness to the center of individual, organizational and community life. It creates and supports projects that serve as healing forces in a divided world, and that spread knowledge about how individuals everywhere can be more loving and forgiving in daily life.

To see how more people across the country are celebrating this year’s National Day of Listening, visit: www.nationaldayoflistening.org.

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