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Indigenous Voices of the Americas

Celebrating the National Museum of the American Indian

June 26–July 1, 2024

We always have our ancestors at our back... This connection assures us that when we move forward, we can never be lost because we always know how to get back home. The future is a realm we have inhabited for thousands of years.

Across the Western Hemisphere, thousands of Indigenous communities are sustaining traditional practices and contributing to a more equitable future. Today, these individuals and nations define who they are, through their own stories in their own words.

In 2024, Indigenous Voices of the Americas: Celebrating the National Museum of the American Indian highlights living traditions of Indigenous peoples. At its core, the program honors contemporary and traditional creative expressions, celebrations, and community connections that feed new possibilities for Indigenous futures. The program is co-presented by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Park Service.

The program marks several milestones for the museum:

1989 (35th anniversary): Congress passed the National Museum of the American Indian Act

1994 (30th anniversary): The George Gustav Heye Center opened in New York City

1999 (25th anniversary): The Cultural Resources Center opened in Maryland, housing NMAI collections and research facilities and incorporating Indigenous practices into collections care

2004 (20th anniversary): The National Museum of the American Indian opened on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

We are honored to welcome back Festival alumni and excited to establish new relationships on the National Mall. Indigenous artists and makers, professional chefs and home cooks, musicians, dancers, athletes, and storytellers will demonstrate the depth of multigenerational traditions as well as new, innovative approaches to cultural expression. As they share their creative traditions and stories, artists and community members invite us to discuss important matters of social justice, cultural equity, and youth leadership.

Programming will animate four primary themes: Relevance, Resistance, Representation, and Reclamation. Join a circle of celebration with stories, songs, and dance. Experience ancestral foods like the Three Sisters (beans, corn, and squash) and inventive, sustainable cuisine. Learn stories that underlie Indigenous sports and games. Hear how Indigenous youth are reclaiming their languages through spoken-word and hip-hop. Explore traditional arts that flourish in their connections to place and environmental knowledge.

Crossing regions, nations, and cultures, the Festival makes space for crucial conversations and new lines of dialogue, all the while affirming the value and vitality of Indigenous cultures today and into the future. We invite you to join us in this celebration of culture, community, and creativity.

  • The Museum’s Opening Festival

    Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.