Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the National Museum of the American Indian

By Editorial Team on September 19, 2018
Courtesy of The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.


The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with free public programs in Washington, DC to recognize the richness of the traditions and culture of the Indigenous communities from Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Activities in both locations will feature local artists, musicians and dancers.

In addition to the special events, visitors will also be available to see more than 400 objects from Hispanic Indigenous communities and bilingual exhibitions such as “The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire” in Washington and “Taíno: Native Heritage and Identity in the Caribbean” in New York. Both locations also offer a bilingual imagiNATIONS Activity Center, a family-friendly, interactive space where visitors of all ages can explore Native scientific discoveries and inventions.

National Museum of the American Indian
Located on the National Mall between the National Air and Space Museum and the U.S. Capitol.
Fourth Street and Independence Avenue SW

Realm of the Jaguar
Saturday, Sept. 22; 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 23; 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
The Realm of the Jaguar is a series of dance performances honoring the feline whose imagery is often found in the artistic traditions of Mesoamerican culture. They can enjoy the jaguar dances of Bolivia (Tradiciones Bolivianas [Amara]) Mexico (Los Tecuanes [Mixtec]) and Guatemala (Grupo Awal) and explore the mask making of Alexis Vasquez (Mixteca) and the artistry of Carlos Chaclán Solís (Q’eqchi’ Maya), who shares the story of the jaguar through traditional and contemporary ceramics.

Workshop: Exploring the Inka Road—an Engineering Marvel
Thursday, Sept. 27; 4:15–7:15 p.m.
The museum is hosting Exploring the Inka Road—an Engineering Marvel. Fourth- through eighth- grade teachers are invited to join the San Francisco Exploratorium’s Isabel Hawkins and archaeologist Vicentina Galiano Blanco to explore the museum’s “The Great Inka Road” exhibition in this free workshop. Classroom materials and a light snack will be provided. Email nmai-nk360@si.edu for pre- registration and additional information.

In addition to the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, the National Museum of American Indian will host a three-day public program dedicated to El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). It begins Friday, Oct. 26, with an after-hours event dedicated to the Mexican tradition from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. This evening event will feature food and drinks, dancing and crafts, and performances by a mariachi group.

During the weekend, Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28, the museum will celebrate monarch butterflies through the creation of an interactive mural with Joaquin Newman (Yaqui/Mexica), butterfly luminaria and butterfly masks. Butterflies will also appear in a contemporary altar (ofrenda) created for El Día de los Muertos celebrating the marigold paddler, an ancient Maya story interpreted by Evelyn Orantes (Quiche Maya), and traditional ofrendas by Oaxacan-born Lucina Flores (Mexica) and Puebla-born Luz Maria Reyes (Mixtec). The museum will present cultural performances by Grupo los Tecuanes (Mixtec) and an afternoon concert with Pasatono, Mexico’s premier Indigenous music ensemble, Sunday, Oct. 28.

About the Museum
The National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present and future—through partnership with Native people and others. National Mall at Fourth Street and Independence Avenue S.W.; open every day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25); Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and AmericanIndian.si.edu.

The museum invites the public to let it know where they see American Indian imagery and words and join the conversation on social media using #NDNsEverywhere.