Smithsonian Celebrates American Indian Heritage Month

October 31, 2013
News Release
Tinkus Tiataco performer

The Smithsonian celebrates American Indian Heritage Month throughout November with a series of performances, lectures, exhibitions, family activities and tours at various museums. All programs are free unless otherwise indicated.

Feature Event

Raven Steals the Sun: A Family Celebration of Tlingit Culture will be held Saturday, Nov. 9, and Sunday, Nov. 10, at 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the National Museum of the American Indian. Visitors can meet Tlingit author Maria Williams, who shares stories from her children’s book, How Raven Stole the Sun, based on traditional stories of southern Alaska. Children divide into teams of “Wolves” and “Crows” as they learn a Tlingit game. The whole family can enjoy music and dance, a Tlingit food demonstration and much more. The event is presented in partnership with National Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access.


The National Museum of the American Indian will present performances by Imamsuat, a multigenerational group of Sugpiaq (Alutiiq) people from southeastern Alaska and from the Inupiaq culture of the Bering Sea. The group was formed to preserve and promote the Sugpiaq culture through traditional dance and song. The performances will take place Monday, Nov. 4, at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in the museum’s Potomac Atrium.


The National Museum of the American Indian will host Dinner & a Movie: Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope, dubbed in the Navajo language with English subtitles. This version of the movie has only been shown on or near the Navajo Nation. Visitors may dress as a favorite character for the chance to win a prize. The screening will take place Friday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. in the museum’s Rasmuson Theater. Cuisine from the Mitsitam Cafe will be available for purchase from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Register online for free tickets at  

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the George Gustav Heye Center will screen As Nutayunean We Still Live Here daily, at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. through Nov. 25. This film tells the story of efforts to restore Native-language fluency to members of southern New England’s Wampanoag communities.


The National Museum of the American Indian will present “Engineering the Inka Empire: A Symposium on Sustainability and Ancient Technologies” Thursday, Nov. 14, at 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the museum’s Rasmuson Theater. This all-day event features leading scholars of Inca culture (Inka in Quechuan) discussing the engineering feats that bound together the rugged world of the Andes. Smithsonian secretary Wayne Clough, whose background is in civil engineering, opens the day with a talk on sustainability in engineering. The symposium is co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Latino Center. This project was supported with internal Smithsonian Institution funds from the Consortium for World Cultures.

Family Activities

The National Museum of the American Indian will host Quinoa: A Future Sown Thousands of Years Ago, Saturday, Nov. 2, and Sunday, Nov. 3, at 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event celebrates an indigenous crop and the Central and South American communities that have been growing it for millennia. Visitors can sample quinoa recipes, join a panel discussion on “quinoa and food security” and take part in traditional Bolivian dances.

Children up to age five are invited to become Young Portrait Explorers. The National Portrait Gallery will present “Young Portrait Explorers—Sequoyah” Monday, Nov. 4, at 10:30 a.m. Visitors will be able to examine a portrait of Sequoyah and listen to a story about him. Reservations are required. Visit for more information. Meet in the G Street lobby.


The National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the George Gustav Heye Center presents a permanent exhibition of 700 works of Native art from throughout North, Central and South America. "Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian" demonstrates the breadth of the museum’s renowned collection and highlights the historic importance of many of these iconic objects. The exhibition is open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays until 8 p.m. 

The National Museum of the American Indian Museum presents “Grand Procession: Dolls from the Charles and Valerie Diker Collection,” an exhibition celebrating the traditional attire of Plains and Plateau tribes through 23 colorful and meticulously handmade dolls. The exhibition is open daily in the museum’s Sealaska Gallery through Jan. 1, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

All programs are subject to change. For more information about the American Indian Heritage  Month programs, visit: or email For general Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.

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