National Museum of the American Indian Summer Events

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Siletz Tribe of Oregon are being hosted this summer by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. in a series of festivals that celebrate American Indian music, culture, food and art. This year, their annual Living Earth Festival coincides with their Conversations with the Earth: Indigenous Voices on Climate Change exhibition, which showcases first-hand accounts concerning the pressing issue of environmental damage with reverence of traditional knowledge from 15 tribal communities in 13 countries. A full schedule of events are lined up for the summer. For June:

• Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 5:00 PM: “Indian Country/Country Indian”: Victoria Blackie (Navajo), Rebecca Miller (Mohawk) and Becky Hobbs (Cherokee) throw an outdoor country concert on the museum’s Welcome Plaza.

• Wednesday, June 22, 2011 – Saturday, June 25, 2011: “Choctaw Days”: Reenactment of a traditional Choctaw wedding, stickball demonstrations and kabocca (stickball sticks) handling, dance performances, storytelling, basketweaving demonstrations, art demonstrations by prominent Choctaw artists Marcus Amerman and Gwen Coleman-Lester, booths featuring Choctaw beadwork, pottery, flutes, and food, a crafts make-and-take section with materials provided, outdoors farmers market, Iron Chef style cook-off in the museum’s ampitheatre, blues/rock concerts featuring Pappy Johns Band (Six Nations, Ontario), Plateros (Navajo), and Gregg Analla (Isleta/Laguna Pueblo), short documentary showings; one on Choctaw Code Talkers (produced by RedHorse Productions), and another on the Trail of Tears called “The Long Walk” (produced by Arkansas Education Television Network).

In July there are two Dinner & A Movie events at the museum’s Rasmuson Theate with food available for purchase at the Mitsitam Cafe during 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM. Register at

• Saturday, July 2, 2011 at 7:00 PM: “Kissed by Lightning”, directed by Shelley Niro (Mohawk). Based on an old Iroquois tale, this film follows a Mohawk widow who recreates her husband’s stories to keep his memory alive.

• Friday, July 22, 2011 at 7:00 PM: “Auto Immune Response” by Will Wilson (Navajo), who will take questions afterward. This is a documentary about Wilson’s work using large-scale photographs and digital video to portray what the Navajos’ future relationship to their land might be.

In August, the Red Power Squad, a Native rap group from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada formed in 1998 by Conway Kootenay will perform at the museum’s outdoor Welcome Plaza.

• Saturday, August 6, 2011 at 5:00 PM: Red Power Squad concert.

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