News Releases

National Museum of the American Indian Recognizes Native Nation Self- Determination With Inaugural Weekend Festivities

Ball To Raise Funds for a Memorial Recognizing Native American Veterans

January 5, 2017

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will open a banner exhibition “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nations Armed Forces” Saturday, Jan. 21. The exhibition chronicles the largely unknown history of Native American veterans. Native peoples have served in every major U.S. military encounter from the Revolutionary War to today’s conflicts in the Middle East and at a higher rate in proportion to their population than any other ethnic group. Using art, photography and essays, the 16-panel exhibition examines more than 300 years of Native peoples contributions to the U.S. military. While it is on view through January 2018 in the museum’s Sealaska Gallery on the second floor, a traveling version of the exhibition will be touring the country (dates and locations of the traveling exhibition are to be determined).

The museum will be closed on Inauguration Day, Friday, Jan. 20. On Saturday, Jan. 21, and Sunday, Jan. 22, the museum will host “Out of Many: A Multicultural Celebration of Music and Dance.” The free event will feature Native performers from across the country and performances by local cultural groups. Presenters include Southern rock/soul group Dark Water Rising; classical, jazz and contemporary guitarist Gabriel Ayala (Yaqui); blues pianist Murray Porter (Mohawk); Mystic Warriors, a contemporary Andean music group based in Silver Spring, Md.; Hālau O 'Aulani, a hula school based in Arlington, Va.; taiko drummer Mark H. Rooney; and more. Support for this festival is provided by the National Council of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Native Nations Inaugural Ball

Although the museum will be closed during its usual hours Friday, Jan. 20, the Native Nations Inaugural Ball will take place at the museum that evening. The ball will launch the campaign to build the National Native American Veterans Memorial; funds raised from the event are dedicated to its fulfillment. Headed by honorary co-chairs Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), the event will feature a buffet dinner of Native cuisine, music and dancing. The deadline for ticket purchase is Jan. 16. Support for the ball is provided by the Chickasaw Nation.

The National Native American Veterans Memorial will be built on the museum’s grounds, and it is scheduled to be completed by Veterans Day 2020. More information about the memorial is available on the museum’s website.

For up-to-date information about the National Museum of the American Indian, visit Follow the museum via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Media only  
Bethany Bentley 

Lisa M. Austin  

Logo for Native American Inaugural Ball