Department of the Interior

DOI News Header
Office of the Secretary
Contact: Frank Quimby, 202-208-7291
For Immediate Release: September 17, 2004
Susan Pourian, 202-208-4056
Anne C. James, 202-208-4659
Media Advisory
Interior to Celebrate American Indian Heritage
with Living Legacy Awards, Art Exhibits, Tours

WASHINGTON -- The Department of the Interior will help celebrate the artistic achievements and cultural contributions of American Indians next week as part of the ceremonies marking the official opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. The opening, which will be preceded by a Native Nations Procession on the National Mall, is expected to draw the largest number of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the nation's capital in U.S. history.

The Interior Department, which provides a wide variety of services to educate Indian children, protect tribal natural resources and stimulate tribal self-government and economic development, will celebrate the artistic contributions of Indian people and honor individuals for their roles in promoting America Indian and Alaska Native arts.

The highlight of Interior's weeklong activities is the Living Legacy Awards. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton will honor five individuals for their efforts in promoting Indian arts. The honorees are Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado; W. Richard West, founding director of the National Museum of the American Indian; Jesse Monongya, an artist and commissioner of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board; Cruz McDaniels II, an artist and teacher; and Myron Wahnee Jr., a student artist.

"Four of the five honorees have not only distinguished themselves in their careers, but also accepted a larger role," Norton said. "They have chosen to work with younger generations, with nonprofit organizations and with government to assure that Indian arts and artists take their rightful place among the cultural assets of the world. One of the honorees, Myron Wahnee Jr., a senior at Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, Oklahoma, was selected as representative of the emerging generation of Indian artists."

The program is on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 4 p.m. in the Yates Auditorium of the Main
Interior Building. Attendance is by invitation only. Credentialed media are welcome to
cover the event and should arrive at the 1849 C Street N.W. entrance to the building no later than 3:45 p.m. The program will be broadcast live by satellite; downlink information is below. The ceremony also will be videotaped, and VHS copies will be available.

The Indian Arts and Crafts Board, an Interior agency that promotes American Indian and Alaska Native economic development through the promotion and protection of the Indian arts and crafts industry, has transferred more than 6,000 arts and crafts items to the National Museum of the American Indian.

Created by Congress in 1935, the Board focuses on activities that directly benefit Native American artists and craftspeople, including the enforcement of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, a truth in marketing and consumer protection law, co-authored by one of the Living Legacy honorees, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell. The Board also publishes the Source Directory of Indian owned and operated arts and crafts businesses and showcases authentic Indian arts and crafts through its three Indian museums in the Plains regions. The outstanding work of Sen. Campbell and Cruz McDaniels, Living Legacy honorees, was featured at the Board's Southern Plains Indian Museum in 1981 and 1985, respectively. In 1999, the Board transferred its headquarters arts and crafts collections, representing Tribes throughout the country, to the National Museum of the American Indian. Jesse Monongya, Board Commissioner, is a Living Legacy honoree.

During the weeklong celebration, the Main Interior Building will host Indian arts and crafts exhibits and an open house for contemporary Indian artists. Selections from the Bureau of Indian Affairs artwork and artifact collection will be on display in the C Street lobby of the building as well as in the cafeteria. The BIA houses more than 2,000 items, many of which are on permanent display in the offices of the Secretary of the Interior and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.

The Interior Museum's exhibit Continuation of the Arts through the Generations features historic and contemporary objects from four cultural areas of American Indian nations (Plains, Southwest, Northwest Coast and California). The exhibit highlights pottery by Marie and Julian Martinez and Fannie Nampeyo; a Dakota beaded vest featuring flag designs; baskets decorated with woodpecker feathers and glass beads made by Pomo Indians; and a Plains cradleboard or baby carrier decorated with colorful seed beads in symmetrical geometric patterns. The exhibit continues to Dec. 31, 2004.

From Sept. 20 to Sept. 24, the museum offers daily tours spotlighting American Indian 1930s-era murals at Interior, including the work of Allan Houser, Gerald Nailor, Velino Herrera, Woody Crumbo and two of the Kiowa Five. The tours are from 10 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m. Call 202-208-4659 for reservations.

Interior's historic Indian Craft Shop, which has helped to promote Indian painters, sculpters, weavers, potters and jewelry-makers for 65 years, exhibits a broad range of techniques found in today's world of American Indian art. The shop, established at Interior in 1938, represents authentic American Indian arts and crafts from more than 55 tribal areas in the United States.

On Sept. 23 and Sept. 24, the shop will host an open house with more than 20 guest artists whose works are represented. (More information below). Expanded selections of
these artists' works will be highlighted from Sept. 20 to 28. The shop also will host two book signings on Sept. 23 and Sept. 24. The Houser-Haozous family and Author W. Jackson Rushing III will present Allan Houser, An American Master (Chiricahua Apache, 1914 - 1994). This illustrated book celebrates Allan Houser, who is considered by many to be the father of contemporary Native American art. Houser's murals can be seen in the shop and on the Interior Museum mural tours. His son, Phillip Haozous (Apache), a guest artist at the open house, will exhibit his bronzes for the first time in Washington. Award-winning artist Virginia Stroud, Cherokee, will also be signing her new Baby Journal: a Book about Me, designed for the American Indian College Fund.

Living Legacy Awards: Arts of the Indian Peoples Satellite Broadcast. The Sept. 23 ceremony in the Yates Auditorium, by invitation only, will be broadcast live by satellite. The information to downlink this broadcast is as follows: Galaxy 3 (G3) C-Band; Transponder/Channel = 02; Downlink frequency: 3740 Vertical. The program test signal will be broadcast from 3:45 p.m. to 3:55 p.m. The program time will be from 3:55 p.m. to 5 p.m. The program will be broadcasted in closed-caption mode.

Celebrating the Arts of American Indian Guest Artists: Arlene Caesar (Kiowa); Bruce, Adam, Amy and Krystal Caesar (Pawnee); Rita Chrisjohn-Benson (Oneida); Christian and Michael Clarquist (Chippewa); Marian Denipah (Navajo); Frank Ettawageshik (Odowa); Cliff Fragua (Jemez); Barbara Gonzales (San Ildefonso); Phillip Haozous (Apache); Cynthia Holmes (Chippewa); Dina Huntinghorse (Wichita); Al Joe (Navajo); Steve LaRance (Hopi); Robin Lazore (Mohawk); Ramona Martin (Chippewa); Anna Mitchell (Cherokee); Addie Powless (Oneida); Virginia Stroud (Cherokee); Victoria Mitchell Vasquez (Cherokee); George Shukata Willis (Choctaw); Pete Yazzie (Navajo). The shop is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 202-208-4056, e-mail, or check the Web site at

The Interior Museum is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (except for federal holidays) and the third Saturday of each month from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Adult visitors must present a form of photo identification, such as a driver's license, student ID, or employment card, when entering the public entrance to the Main Interior Building, 1849 C Street, N.W., in Washington, D.C. Access for the handicapped is available at the 18th and E Streets entrance. For more information, call 208-4743.







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