WASHINGTON, DC.- The Smithsonians National Museum of the American Indian
on the National Mall will host a three-day Living Earth Festival, Friday, Aug. 6, through Sunday, Aug. 8, that acknowledges Native contributions to managing the environment and sustaining lifeways and foodways. The festival will include an outdoor fresh-produce market, fine-art market, symposium, hands-on activities for kids and families, a cooking competition and concert.
The museum is uniquely positioned to be a point of convergence on this important global issue, said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the museum. Building on the success of past Mother Earth events, which since 2007 have brought together scientists, Native elders and musicians, the museum will combine the festival celebration with a call to consciousness of contemporary environmental issues that affect all peoples as well as showcase contemporary Native environmental efforts.
An outdoor local farmers market will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring certified organic growers selling a variety of fresh produce, including, corn, tomatoes, watermelon and jerky made from free range beef, elk and buffalo. Several varieties of fresh and roasted green chilies from New Mexico will also be available.
On Friday, Aug. 6, from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 7, and Sunday, Aug. 8, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., children can participate in a twining activity, paint gourds and try their hand at spinning cotton for a weaving demonstration with participants from Veracruz, Mexico, and the Hopi from Arizona. They can also learn about seeds and make and take home biodegradable paper embedded with flower seeds or clay seed-balls to create their own garden.
Families can take the guided or audio landscape tour to learn more about the museums four distinct habitats or take the Chesapeake Tour that highlights local tribes in the museums permanent exhibitions. Native artisans will be selling their work on the fourth level, including jewelry, quilts, soaps, pottery, baskets, beadwork and cornhusk dolls.
The museums popular Dinner & A Movie series will feature the film from Canada, Waterlife (2010, 109 minutes) along with director Kevin McMahon Friday, Aug. 6, at 7 p.m. in the Rasmuson Theater. This film depicts a journey to the Great Lakes from the perspective of the people, the animals and the water itself using new camerawork and filming techniques. After the screening there will be a Q-and-A session with special guests. The museums Mitsitam Cafe will offer a full menu from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Aug. 7, at 11 a.m. in the Rasmuson Theater, Mohawk elder Tom Porter will provide a keynote address on the community he founded in the Mohawk Valley in New York, known as Kanatsiohareke, or place of the clean pot, with the goal of living self-sufficiently, in accordance with Mohawk spiritual beliefs. He will detail how they are learning to blend environmentally supportive energy and farming technologies with Native traditions. The community practices organic vegetable farming, operates a bed-and-breakfast and a crafts store. At 1:30 p.m. in the Rasmuson Theater, Living Earth/Living Waters: A Symposium will feature a discussion on water, wind and salmon with scientists, leaders and innovators offering thought-provoking presentations on the latest scientific research on the biosphere and the threats and opportunities people face on the road to sustainability. Speakers include Billy Frank Jr. (Nisqually), Nancy Maynard, Alberto Mellado Moreno (Comćaac Nation of Mexico) and Daniel Wildcat (Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma). Jose Barreiro (Taino) will moderate. This event will be webcast live at www.AmericanIndian.si.edu/webcasts.
There will be a pre-concert performance at 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 7, with musicians Bill Miller (Mohican), Shakti Hayes (Plains Cree) and Murray Porter (Mohawk) on the Welcome Plaza. The concert with the New Orleans band, Dumpstaphunk, led by keyboardist Ivan Neville, will begin at 6 p.m. on the Welcome Plaza. He is joined by cousin Ian Neville on guitar, Nick Daniels and Tony Hall on double-bass and Raymond Webber on drums; the concert will conclude with other special guests joining in a jam session. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. to celebrate the opening of the music exhibition, Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture, in the Sealaska Gallery on the second level.
An Iron Chef-like cooking competition will take place Sunday, Aug. 8, at 3 p.m. in the Outdoor Amphitheater. The Mitsitam Cafes executive chef, Richard Hetzler, will compete with a local chef to prepare three to four dishes using fresh local produce and meats such as quail, goat, rabbit, elk or venison in one hour. The final dishes will be judged by local food critics.