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  • Welcome to the 2024 Festival: A Message from Our Directors

    Native dancers perform on an outdoor stage with the U.S. Capitol Building in the background.

    The DinéTah Navajo Dancers performed at the 2004 First Americas Festival, which celebrated the grand opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. The event was co-produced by the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. This year, the same group joins the Festival to celebrate the museum’s twentieth anniversary.

    Photo by Michael Thompson, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives

    This year’s Festival foregrounds Indigenous voices from across the Americas and celebrates several landmark anniversaries for the National Museum of the American Indian : 20 years of the museum in Washington, D.C.; 25 years of the Cultural Resources Center, which houses the collections; 30 years of the museum in New York City; and 35 years of the legislation that established the museum as part of the Smithsonian.

    We mark these milestones together, in a grand way, by featuring the living traditions and cultures of the communities we serve. At the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the National Museum of the American Indian, our priority has always been to provide a space for Indigenous people to share their invaluable expertise and insights directly with you. We strive to place community at the forefront of everything we do.

    As you explore the Festival, experience the culture, creativity, and community of those who have traveled from around the hemisphere to the National Mall to share their lives and stories with you.

    We want to thank our staff for their tireless work, and special thanks to you for being with us. We hope your visit to the Folklife Festival is an inspiring one.

    Clifford Murphy
    Director, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage  

    Cynthia Chavez Lamar
    Director, National Museum of the American Indian

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