November 1, 2017

The Smithsonian invites the public to celebrate American Indian Heritage Month throughout November with a series of performances, lectures, exhibitions and family activities at various museums around the Smithsonian. All programs are free unless otherwise indicated. For a full calendar of events, visit

Feature Events

The National Museum of the American Indian will present Family Fun Friday Nov. 24 to celebrate the different ways that Native people give thanks. Programs will include dancing, games, short children’s films and storybook readings.


The Smithsonian Latino Center will present “Sones de México Ensemble: A Concert for Tomorrow’s Ancestors” at the National Museum of the American Indian, Saturday, Nov. 4, at 3 p.m. The Sones de México Ensemble will perform a repertoire drawn from Mexican folk genres, including huapango, gustos, chilenas and son jarocho.

Children’s Programs

Children can visit the National Portrait Gallery for the museum’s Portrait Story Day Series. Young visitors can participate in an art activity after listening to a story about a well-known Native American. The program is organized in partnership with D.C. Public Libraries.

Portrait Story Days: Pocahontas
Saturday, Nov. 4; 1–4 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 5; 1–4 p.m.

Portrait Story Days: Sequoyah
Sunday, Nov. 12; 1–4 p.m.

Portrait Story Days: Sitting Bull
Saturday, Nov. 18; 1–4 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 19; 1–4 p.m.

Portrait Story Days: Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce
Saturday, Nov. 25; 1–4 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 26; 1–4 p.m.

On Saturday, Nov. 11, the Veterans Day observance at the National Museum of the American Indian will feature a color guard and a performance by Charly Lowry (Lumbee) of the band Dark Water Rising. The museum will also launch the first phase of an international design competition to build the National Native American Veterans Memorial on that day. The Veterans Memorial will be located on museum grounds on the National Mall. A blue-ribbon jury of Native and non-Native artists, designers, scholars and veterans will judge the design submissions. For more information about the competition and memorial, visit

Visitors are invited to the National Museum of the American Indian for a Muscogee (Creek) Nation festival, Thursday–Saturday, Nov. 16–18, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation will celebrate its tribal history, heritage and culture with three days of performances, music, hands-on activities, an art market and demonstrations. 

The National Portrait Gallery will host “Young Portrait Explorers: American Indian Heritage Month” Mondays, Nov. 13 and 27, 10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. The program focuses on Native Americans in the Portrait Gallery’s collection and touches on art and history through storytelling. It is intended for children ages 5 and up, and registration at is required.  


On the eve of the opening of the exhibition “Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound,” the National Museum of the American Indian, the George Gustav Heye Center in New York will feature a “‘Transformer’ Curators’ Conversation” with curators Kathleen Ash-Milby and David Garneau, Thursday, Nov. 9, at 6 p.m.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum will host two 30-minute gallery talks with docent coordinator Geoffrey Cohrs Wednesday, Nov. 15, and Monday, Nov. 20, at noon. The discussions will focus on three Native American artists, Edmonia Lewis, Charlie Willeto and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, who defied convention to create enduring works of art.


The National Museum of the American Indian’s banner exhibition “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces” will be on display at the Heye Center in New York, Thursday, Nov. 9, through Wednesday, Nov. 15. Using art, photography and essays, the 16-panel exhibition examines more than 300 years of Native people’s contributions to the U.S. military.

On Friday, Nov. 10, the Heye Center will open “Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound.” The exhibition showcases the work of artists who use light, digital projection and experimental media to reflect on their places in both traditional and dominant cultures.         

All American Indian Heritage Month programs at the Smithsonian are subject to change. Unless otherwise indicated, Smithsonian Heritage Month programs are free; for more information, visit or email For general Smithsonian information, the public may call 202-633-1000.

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