Do you want to learn more about Native American music or culture?
A Native American museum is a great place to start. Across the USA, you can find various museums and cultural centers that are great ways to see, touch, hear and learn more about the Native People of your region, both from the past and in the present day. You may be surprised to learn new things about the history of your area or to find that local place names have a special meaning in the Native American tongue of your region.
If you are close to Washington DC or New York city, you can visit two of the NMAI – National Museums of the American Indian. Both are exciting places to experience Native culture first-hand. Aside from an incredible facility with on-going exhibits, the main NMAI in Washington DC regularly runs classes, workshops and even online performances or seminars about topics of interest concerning Native American culture. You can find the main link to these sites below. The New York location of the NMAI was recently affected by Hurricane Sandy but just announced that it will reopen on Wednesday, November 14th and resume normal operations. A list of their classes and programs can be found below.
What if you’re not close to one of these locations or want to know specific information about local tribes near your home? Start by searching the name of local tribes online to see if a museum or cultural center exists or find a contact on the site powwow.com. Within a short time, you should be able to find accurate and up to date information about what is happening in your area in regard to Native Culture. One note about names. Remember that there are commonly used names for tribes that are not the same as the ones used by the tribes themselves. For instance, although the Iroquois Museum uses the term “Iroquois”, the teaching resources utilize their preferred name of Haudenosaunee, meaning “People of the Longhouse”.
Can’t visit a museum in person? Check out the websites below for some great experiences. For instance, the NMAI in New York has a special 5 year long exhibit called the Circle of Dance. If you visit the main page, you can see a glorious slide show of Native Dance regalia from all over the world. At the main NMAI site, you can discover a host of teaching materials or even do an online search of collections. Some facilities; such as the Iroquois museum, also offer resources for tracing genealogy. The Museum of Inuit art offers audio and video tours. Many sites have bookstores online where you can purchase accurate material on Native history and traditions as well.
What can you learn about Native culture? A world of resources are available. Just start with a sense of curiosity and respect and you’ll be off on an exciting journey into the world of the first peoples of North America.
Images seen here are from the Circle of Dance exhibit as listed below.
National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC
Program Information For The National Museum of the American Indian in New York City
Children’s Iroquois Museum
Museum of the Cherokee Indian
Museum of Inuit Art (Canada)
Circle Of Dance – Incredible Slide Show and 5 Year Long Exhibit Info
Teachers and Teaching Resources for Native American Heritage Month
Home Page – Native American Heritage Month 2012