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Smokin' Ace 01-16-2004 09:17 AM

Opening Set For Indian Museum - September 2004
 
washingtonpost.com
Opening Set For Indian Museum
Week-Long Festival to Mark Sept. 21 Launch on Mall

By Jacqueline Trescott
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 16, 2004; Page C01


The staff of the National Museum of the American Indian began moving into its new building on the Mall yesterday. And in nine months, the Smithsonian's newest outpost will open to the public, with an unmatched collection of artifacts and displays designed to set the record straight on the history and contributions of native peoples.

That will culminate a 20-year push to establish a museum on the Mall that would enshrine 10,000 years of Native American life and culture as a central chapter of history, said the museum director, W. Richard West Jr.

In a speech at the National Press Club yesterday, West said the museum would be ready to open Sept. 21, with traditional Native American blessings, pageantry and a week-long "The First Americans Festival." He also said that the museum had raised $95 million in private funds, more than required. Of that, $33 million came from tribes that generate substantial revenues from casinos. Federal appropriations paid for the rest of the $214 million project.

The museum, West said, represents "the long overdue and entirely appropriate recognition and affirmation of the vast cultural contributions that native peoples and communities have made and continue to make to all that we define as 'civilization.' . . . I think a case can be made that Native America, as the originating element of American heritage, should have been among the first to be acknowledged with a museum on the National Mall -- and yet we arrived last."

The 250,000-square-foot building west of the Capitol and the Botanic Garden was designed to be in tune with native beliefs and culture, including an entrance that faces east, "to meet the morning sun." The five-story, somewhat-circular building is swathed in limestone from Minnesota. The stone has been treated to suggest it has been shaped by decades of wind and rain. Light spills into the interior through a series of prisms, reflecting the importance of sun and light in Indian cultures.

The core of the museum's collection is the 800,000 items gathered in the first half of the 20th century by George Gustav Heye. When it opens, the museum will have 7,000 objects on display, from gold figurines that predate Columbus to beadwork, baskets, blankets, garments and pottery. Tribes from the Arctic to Patagonia will be represented.

From the beginning the planners have included native officials in their decisions -- more than 500 people from 300 communities. The permanent exhibitions will be divided into "Our Universes," an examination of native philosophy and cosmology; "Our Peoples," a review of central events in native history; and "Our Lives," a look at individual and tribal identities.

West said yesterday no topic "would be dodged" -- from the "efforts of the federal government to eliminate native people" to questions about casinos on Indian reservations to repatriation of native artifacts. Asked whether the stories of betrayal would be represented, West said they would be but he didn't want those stories to overshadow others. "This is an aspect of our history that we must not avoid," he said. West said the exhibitions would include documents from the National Archives -- even the treaties that were worth only the paper they were written on. "There is no treaty between the tribal nationals and the U.S. government that was ever completely honored," he said.

But he wants the stories that aren't as well known to be appreciated and highlighted, as well, he said.

West was asked how he felt about sports teams, such as the Washington Redskins, that adopt Indian names and symbols.

He responded indirectly, pointing out the more people know about a culture, the better they understand and can move toward his goal of reconciliation. West said exposure is "one of the most significant ways to rid ourselves and our culture of one-dimensional picture of who we are. We are full human beings," he said.

West said he expects 4 million visitors in the first year. The museum is following the example the Holocaust Memorial Museum used and is organizing an advance pass system. The passes are available on the museum's Web site, www.americanindian.si.edu or at www.tickets.com. Admission is free.



2004 The Washington Post Company

WhoMe 01-16-2004 09:53 AM

____

I for one, am impressed.

comchocldy 01-20-2004 09:46 PM

Museum
 
:Angel2

I was really looking forward to it as I go to DC a lot. But honestly if they have a lot of personal artifacts from the mid to late 1800's like Mocs etc. I don't know if I will be able to deal with that.

Histories of other nations I look forward to, it's jus the clothes and stuff that will lay heavy on my emotions.

I checked their website out awhile back and they are also actively seeking young Ndns for internships.

CC

Emmy 01-21-2004 08:02 AM

ooo i cant wait :) i work down the street now till i get my masters in museum studies...then ill be workin there. :D

comchocldy 01-26-2004 12:59 PM

Hope to see you there
 
Hi Emmy,

I fly to DC a lot, and I will be going to the opening. Have you check the website? They'll accept applications for Native Nations Procession up until May 2004. You can apply as a nation, a group or as an independent ( like a family or jus one person).

the website is: americanindian.si.edu

Much success to you in your studies, I pray I can get my kids interested, they always complain about whites teaching and writing books about our culture, well now is time for the young to step up to the plate and do it themselves!

Kakeeya 01-26-2004 01:41 PM

I used to work at NMAI, good place to work. :Thumbs I'll go back for the opening if I can, but looks doubtful at this point. :(

Emmy 01-26-2004 01:57 PM

Re: Hope to see you there
 
Quote:

Originally posted by comchocldy
Hi Emmy,

I fly to DC a lot, and I will be going to the opening. Have you check the website? They'll accept applications for Native Nations Procession up until May 2004. You can apply as a nation, a group or as an independent ( like a family or jus one person).

the website is: americanindian.si.edu

Much success to you in your studies, I pray I can get my kids interested, they always complain about whites teaching and writing books about our culture, well now is time for the young to step up to the plate and do it themselves!

hey thanks im gonna go sign up right now!!

comchocldy 01-26-2004 03:06 PM

group airfares
 
:D

To all who plan to go to the opening on Sept. 21st. the airline I work for: United Airlines books group rates for 10 or more people.
Most other carriers offer similar deals but all 10+ have to book on the same record to get the discount.

So if you can get enough of us together in your area you can save some bucks on airfare. (Not mention keep me working). The same goes for hotels, I don't know what the numbers would be for a group rate though at the hotels closest to the museum.

DC has great public transportation! So if you stay a little further out it will be even less.

Hope to see yall there and Halito to my Choctaw relations.
(oh, and my Chickasaw inlaws)

CC

KoolNDN 01-26-2004 10:14 PM

I know they had a powwow in 2002, does anyone know if they will be having another powwow this year during the official opening?

Kakeeya 01-27-2004 11:14 AM

No doesn't look like they will be having another powwow. The one they had at the Mall was a big effort and too little people did all of the work.

Emmy 01-27-2004 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Kakeeya
No doesn't look like they will be having another powwow. The one they had at the Mall was a big effort and too little people did all of the work.
yup thats what the lady at the trailer infront of the building says.

WhoMe 01-28-2004 03:46 PM

Re: Museum
 
Quote:

Originally posted by comchocldy
: . . .if they have a lot of personal artifacts from the mid to late 1800's like Mocs etc. I don't know if I will be able to deal with that.
CC

comldy:

From what I have seen in their collections at the NMAI CRC, a heavy volume of their artifact collections are from the mid to late 1800's time collections. In their new museum will be a display of footwear shaped in a spiral.

[QUOTE]Originally posted by koolndn
;I know they had a powwow in 2002, does anyone know if they will be having another powwow this year during the official opening? [QUOTE]

I talked to one of the people responsible for the 2002 mall powwow. He said, they are planning on having a powwow but it won't be a contest powwow. The emphasis will be on the indiginous nations grand entry. Appearantly every indigenous nation in North, Central and South America is getting an invitation to carry their flag/totem/staff in this grand entry. It should be impressive!


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