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National Museum of the American Indian offers virtual events

The National Museum of the American Indian is offering the following virtual events in March, April and May. All events are free unless otherwise noted. For more information visit


Youth in Action: Native Women Making Change

Thursday, March 18, on demand. What roles do Indigenous women uphold that serve both their communities and our society at large? Watch a conversation between two young Native women who work at local and state levels to make change: Aidan Graybill, who serves on the executive council of the Wyandot Nation of Kansas and Representative Christina Haswood (Diné [Navajo]), one of the youngest members of the Kansas State Legislature. 

Youth in Action: Conversations About Our Future is a monthly program led byyoung Native activists and changemakers from across the Western Hemisphere who are working toward equity and social justice for Indigenous peoples. Topics vary from month to month. Advance registration is not required.

DC Environmental Film Festival: What Happened to the Bees?

Friday, March 19, 12 p.m. EST

(Mexico, 2019, 67 min.)

Director: Adriana Otero and Robin Canul

The DC premiere of “What Happened to the Bees?” Co-presented with the National Museum of the American Indian, the Embassy of Mexico and the Mexican Cultural Institute. This film exposes the deadly effects of regularly used agrochemicals — currently legal in countries like Mexico and the United States — on millions of bees. The documentary explores how the planting of monocultures threatens the health and environment of Mayan beekeeping communities in southeastern Mexico and portrays their fight to protect their land from massive deforestation, groundwater table pollution and climate change.

Living Earth Teach-In: Traditional Foods Sustain our Bodies and Spirits

Saturday, March 20, 1–3 p.m. EST

Traditional foods and the knowledge related to growing, harvesting, storing and preparing them has been practiced for millennia by Indigenous peoples. Participants can interact with Native food and sustainability experts to learn about traditional foodways revitalization and how Indigenous foods can sustain bodies and spirits.

Kick off the Living Earth Festival with the National Museum of the American Indian. The program features keynote speaker Chef Sean Sherman (@thesiouxchef), Founder/CEO The Sioux Chef, and a live moderated panel discussion about the significance of cultural foods today to get ideas for how to use NK360° classroom resources for teaching about the themes of culture, foods and sustainability.

The Living Earth Teach-In is recommended for all K–12 teachers and educators in the subjects of environmental science, history, social studies and STEAM. This program is free and will be held via Zoom, and advance registration is required. 


In Dialogue: Smithsonian Objects and Social Justice

Thursday, April 8, 5 p.m. EST

Free, registration required

What is the connection between a desire for recognition of one’s culture and activism for equity? Join educators from the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of the American Indian in a conversation about identity and assimilation in relation to a portrait of activist Zitkála-Šá/Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (Yankton Sioux), an outspoken critic of Indian boarding schools, and a 19th century Carlisle Indian Industrial School student uniform.

Indigenous Poetry: Resilience

April 9–30, on demand.

Via YouTube @SmithsonianNMAI

Reflecting on a difficult year, Indigenous poets offer inspiration as they recite poems about resilience. The National Museum of the American Indian celebrates National Poetry Month with poetry reading from National Poet Laureate Joy Harjo (Mvskoke/Creek), Kealoha Wong (Native Hawaiian), Natalia Diaz (Akimel O’otham) and Jamaica Osorio (Native Hawaiian).   

Living Earth Virtual Festival: The Business of Agriculture in Indian Country

April 22–25, on demand

In celebration of Earth Day, the National Museum of the American Indian’s annual Living Earth Festival will be available on demand over four days. The festival will open with a message from Notah Begay III (Navajo/Isleta Pueblo), four-time PGA Tour champion, sportscaster and founder of the Notah Begay III Foundation, which provides health and wellness education to Native youth.

Living Earth brings together Native innovators and practitioners dedicated to using Indigenous knowledge to protect and sustain the environment. Through cooking demonstrations, conversations and film screenings, this year’s festival explores agriculture trends, innovations and sustainability in Indigenous communities and Native-owned businesses.

The festival is made possible through the generous support of the Native American Agriculture Fund.

Youth in Action: Sustainable Agriculture

April 22–25, on demand

This panel discussion brings together young Indigenous leaders to address the role that traditional ecological knowledge plays in their work as farmers and entrepreneurs. With the onset of Covid-19 and ongoing issues of climate change, investing in sustainable agriculture and food production more important than ever. Moderated by Michaela Pavlat (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians). Panelists include Kelsey Ducheneaux-Scott (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe), Jack Poshano (Hopi) and Marco Ovando (Shoshone-Paiute Tribe).

Cooking Demonstration

April 22–25, on demand

Mariah Gladstone (Blackfeet/Cherokee Nation), founder of IndigiKitchen, an online cooking platform, will explore traditional Indigenous foods and show how to incorporate them into our everyday lives.

Building the Business of Agriculture in Indian Country

April 22–25, on demand

Experts address a crucial issue—creating innovative, robust and ecologically sound food systems and agricultural businesses in Indigenous communities. Speakers include Dawn Sherman (Lakota/Delaware/Shawnee), CEO of Native American Natural Foods; Mark N. Fox, Chairman, Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation; and Leonard Forsman, Chairman, Suquamish Tribe. Moderated by Carmen Davis (Makah/Chippewa-Cree/Yakama), editor of Native Business magazine.

Film Screenings

April 22–25, on demand


(USA, 2020, 74 min.)

Director: Sanjay Rawal

Producer: Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Creek)

“Gather” is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.

Voices from the Barrens: Native People, Blueberries and Sovereignty

(USA, 2020, 56 min.)

Director: Nancy Ghertner

Canadian Director: Brian J. Francis (Mi’kmaq)

This film documents the wild blueberry harvest of the Wabanaki, who live in both the United States and Canada.

Crow Country: The Right to Food Sovereignty

(USA, 2020, 21 min.)

Director: Tsanavi Spoonhunter (Northern Arapaho/Northern Paiute)

Crow Country follows several tribal members who are fighting for better food and a better future for their community.

One Word Sawalmem

(USA, 2019, 18 min.)

Director: Natasha Deganello Giraudie

Co-director: Michael “Pom” Preston (Winnemem Wintu)

A rare look into the life of Native wisdom keepers, men and women respected within Indigenous communities for their intimate knowledge about living in balance with the natural world.

Guardianes de semilla (Guardians of the Seeds)

(Colombia, 2020,8 min.)

Director: Mauricio Telpiz

Four Pastos community members known as guardians of the ancestral seeds showcase traditional rituals.


The Story of the Lūʻau: Dance and Cooking Demonstration  

May 1–31, on demand

Explore the story of the Native Hawaiian tradition of lūʻau and learn why it plays such an important role in Hawaiian culture featuring Vicky Holt Takamine, renowned kumu hula (master teacher of Hawaiian dance), and ʻūniki (graduated) as a kumu hula from hula master Maiki Aiu Lake. As part of her graduation, Lake held a lūʻau to celebrate the occasion. This is a tradition Takamine continues as she presents lūʻaus for her graduating students. Kumu Vicky will present the story of lūʻau which will be followed by a dance presentation that would be enjoyed at celebrations and significant events, such as births, graduations, weddings and many more ʻohana (family) gatherings. 

Chef and Hawaiian cultural practitioner Kealoha Domingo elevates the art of cooking to a new level by honoring the connection to the ‘āina (land), kanaka (humankind), and mea ʻai (food). Kealoha learned the traditions from his father and is sharing that knowledge with his son, Kahikinaokalā. Domingo’s culinary inspiration comes from his kupuna (ancestors), ʻohana (family), life mentors and a network of dedicated friends who wholeheartedly support his endeavors. He will be demonstrating some of the recipes associated with the lūʻau. He will also share the healthful and sustainable character of these traditional food sources. 

This program received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. 

Native American Code Talkers

May 19, 2 p.m. EST

An illustrated talk by author and historian William C. Meadows followed by audience Q&A. Check the museum’s website for updates and Zoom link.

Youth in Action: Ecological Knowledge in Pacific Coastal Communities

May 20, on demand

Indigenous coastal Pacific communities have respected and protected their homelands’ ocean resources for thousands of years. Listen to a conversation with young Indigenous activists from across the Pacific who are utilizing traditional knowledge to inform environmental work within their communities. 

Youth in Action: Conversations About Our Future is a monthly program led byyoung Native activists and changemakers from across the Western Hemisphere who are working toward equity and social justice for Indigenous peoples. Topics vary from month to month. Advance registration is not required.