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Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian Hosts Centennial Symposium

November 3, 2010

The National Museum of the American Indian and the Organization of American States are hosting “Centuries of Change: State of the Native Nations”—a daylong symposium examining years of political, economic and social change among indigenous peoples of North and South America—Friday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the museum’s Rasmuson Theater.

This year marks the bicentennial celebrations of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay and Venezuela. To mark these occasions and to reflect on the changes witnessed over the past century throughout the Americas, the museum invites the public to listen to a discussion among the world’s top scholars and policymakers in indigenous affairs. Speakers include Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin, the assistant secretary of the OAS; Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of NMAI; Tonya Gonnella Frichner (Onondaga), North America’s regional representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; José Barreiro (Taíno), assistant director for research at NMAI; and Lloyd Axworthy, president of the University of Winnipeg and former foreign minister of Canada.

The event will be webcast live at A reception will follow the symposium in the museum’s Potomac Atrium.

Established in 1989 through an Act of Congress, NMAI is an institution of living cultures dedicated to advancing knowledge and understanding of the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the 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 hosts a variety of free cultural arts programs, including Native music and dance performances, theater, films, arts and crafts demonstrations and more. For a schedule of upcoming programs, visit and select “Events.”

OAS is the world’s oldest regional organization, dating back to the First International Conference of American States held in Washington, D.C., from 1889 to1890. Democracy, human rights, security and development are the four basic pillars on which the organization’s mission is based. One of the leading entities of the OAS is its Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which contributes to the protection of the rights of indigenous people in the Americas. Today it comprises the 34 independent states of the Americas and has granted permanent observer status to 64 states, and the European Union.

For more information on the symposium, please contact

For a complete schedule of the museum’s free public performances and programs, visit

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Leonda Levchuk
(202) 633-6613

Molly Stephey
(202) 633-6614