National Museum of the American Indian: Summer 2016 Events

Free Summer Concerts and Tribal Festivals

NMAI Summer 2015
Photo © Katherine Fogden

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC features a concert and festival series each summer promoting Native musicians, films, performers and artists from across the Western Hemisphere.These activities  are fun for the whole family and a great way to learn about the Native American culture.

Location: National Museum of American Indian, 4th St. and Independence Ave., SW. Washington, DC (202) 633-1000. The closest Metro stations are L'Enfant Plaza, Smithsonian and Federal Triangle
See a map and directions to the National Mall

2016 Schedule of Events

Cherokee Days - June 10-12, 2016, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The three federally recognized Cherokee Tribes—the Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians—will come together to celebrate their common heritage and showcase some of their celebrated artists, storytellers, musicians and dancers. There will also be language and genealogy presentations and children’s make-and-take activities. Tsa-La-Gi Dancers will perform the Bear Dance, Bison Dance, Quail Dance and Friendship Dance.

May Sumak: Quichwa Film Showcase - June 17-19, 2016. Friday, 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. The showcase is a celebration of indigenous and community filmmaking in the Quechua languages spoken throughout the Andes and by immigrants in the United States.

Choctaw Nation Arts and Music Festival - June 24-25, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma celebrates its tribal history and heritage with two days of artist demonstrations and hands-on activities for children.  Special concerts will be presented by Choctaw recording artists Samantha Crain and Lainey Edwards. Meet and greet Choctaw Nation princesses and learn more about Choctaw culture.  

Living Earth Festival - July 15-17, 2016. This three-day event is filled with activities for the entire family. Each day will feature artist demonstrations, hands-on kids activities, traditional foods cooking demonstrations and tastings, and music and dance performances. Special events include a Native foods symposium on Friday, a screening of two episodes of Seasoned with Spirit on Saturday and a Native chef cooking competition on Sunday.

IndigeArts CREATE: A Kay WalkingStick Soiree - August 5, 2016, 5:30-8:30 p.m.  To celebrate the final weeks of the exhibition Kay WalkingStick an American Artist, a retrospective of the life’s work of noted American painter Kay WalkingStick, NMAI will hold a special Friday evening event with music spun by DJ Young Native, refreshments, gallery tours, and hands-on painting for adults (courtesy of ArtJamz; workshop fees apply). 

WalkingStick Weekend: Hands-On Salon - August 6-7, 2016, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. This family weekend celebrates the final weeks of the Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist exhibition. It will feature Martha Redbone in concert each day, honoring her Cherokee heritage and musical influences. Additionally, visitors will have a chance to attend gallery talks, meet Navajo and Nez Perce demonstrators who will present their knowledge about designs that inspired WalkingStick’s recent paintings and participate in an array of hands-on art activities related to WalkingStick’s art.

For more information about visiting the area, see 10 Things to Know About the Mall in Washington DC