September 27, 2022
Visitors to the Museum of the American Revolution next weekend will have the chance to explore Native American history, culture and involvement in the Revolutionary War.
The museum is hosting its annual Indigenous Peoples Weekend from Saturday, Oct. 8 through Monday, Oct. 10. The celebration will feature traditional Native American dance performances, demonstrations and crafts.
To kick off the festivities, an Indigenous dance group sponsored by the Oneida Indian Nation will perform traditional Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) social dances on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The free shows will be held at the museum's outdoor plaza. In the case of inclement weather, the performances will be moved inside.
Living history interpreters Kehala Smith (Tuscarora Nation, Turtle Clan) and Jordan Smith (Mohawk, Bear Clan) will be sharing stories about their culture and traditions on Saturday, Oct. 8 and Sunday, Oct. 9.
Other family-friendly weekend highlights include:
Discovery Cart: Guests can chat with museum educators at a discovery cart to learn about Oneida woman Tyonajanegen ("Two Kettles Together"), who fought alongside her husband in the violent 1777 Battle of Oriskany, during the Saratoga Campaign. Replica artifacts and documents will be available for viewing. The discovery cart will be available daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Pop-up Talks: Visitors can listen to a pop-up talk about Akiatonharónkwen, also known as Louis Cook, who was one of the highest-ranking Native American officers with the Continental forces during the Revolutionary War. The talks will be given daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oneida Nation Gallery: The museum's core exhibition features an immersive gallery recreating the Oneida Indian Nation's debate over whether to support the revolutionary cause. The gallery will be open daily.
Film Screening: Patrons can check out screenings of "The People of the Standing Stone," a 25-minute film directed by Emmy-winner Ric Burns and narrated by Oscar-winner Kevin Costner. The film explores the little-known history of the crucial contributions of Native American people who chose to commit themselves to the revolutionary cause. Screenings will be held daily at 3:30 p.m.
Gallery Guide: The museum offers a "The People Between: Native Americans in a Revolutionary Era" gallery guide to help visitors traverse Native Americans' vast, diverse stories told throughout the museum. Can't make it to the museum but still interested to learn more? The guide can also be used with the museum's virtual tour.
Crafts: A coloring craft activity, created with consultation from Native American community partners, allows museum goers to learn the meanings behind wampum belt designs. The activity will be available daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., or can be completed at home anytime.
In 2021, President Biden became the first U.S. president to proclaim the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day. This year, the holiday will be celebrated on Monday, Oct. 10.
In previous years, states like Alaska and New Mexico had already adopted the holiday in replacement of Columbus Day, The New York Times reported. Indigenous groups called for Columbus Day to be replaced because the Italian navigator brought genocide and colonization to communities that had been in America for thousands of years.
At the same time, Biden issued a proclamation that still recognizes Columbus Day as a federal holiday, a status which Indigenous Peoples Day does not yet have. Many citizens continue celebrating Columbus Day, or Italian Heritage Day, and not all states have accepted Indigenous Peoples Day. There is a bill in Congress that proposes to make Indigenous Peoples Day a holiday in lieu of Columbus Day.
All Indigenous Peoples Weekend events are included with regular museum admission.