Events for Native American Heritage Month Celebration

Trips to the Smithsonian, nature walks, film screenings and more things to do at GW and in D.C. to learn about Indigenous culture this month.

October 31, 2023

Native American Heritage Celebration

Here is a list of events for Native American Heritage Month both on the George Washington University campus and in local D.C. venues. Most of them are free. Learn how Indigenous growers and food practitioners are using ancestral foods and land management; learn the significance of bead work in various Native cultures; hear from alumni Robert Maxim (Mashpee Wampanoag) and Kathy Baird (Sicangu Lakota/Oneida) about their experiences as GW students and as leaders in their professions; take a trip to the National Museum of the American Indian for their Honoring the Jingle Dress and more.

Nov. 2, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Hesperus National Forum

1300 I St. NW
Hesperus National Forum celebrates Native American Heritage Month and the contributions of Native American and Alaska Native veterans.

Nov. 3, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Native American Arts

Library of Congress
10 First St. SE
Free (also other days and times through Dec. 6)
This small, curated display for National Native American Heritage Month honors creative work by Indigenous artists from various tribal nations. It highlights work promoted by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board in association with Native galleries and museums in 1970, and Plains Indian and Pacific Northwest painting and drawing, featuring the tradition of Ledger Art and the work of women artists.

Nov. 4, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cooking Up History: Indigenous Food Knowledge & Healthy Ecosystems

American History Museum, Wallace H. Coulter Peformance Plaza, 1 Center
Free, but ticketed
Guest chef Mariah Gladstone (Blackfeet, Cherokee) will share how Indigenous growers and food practitioners are using ancestral foods and land management to sustain and strengthen their communities and their surrounding environments.

Nov. 4, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Celebrating Native Culture through Beadwork

The George Washington Museum and The Textile Museum
Artist Melanie Bender (Choctaw/Apache), an artisan specializing in creating beaded jewelry, will be leading a beadwork demonstration at the GW and The Textile Museum. GW community members will be able to learn the significance of bead work in various Native cultures and create a product of their own!

Nov. 9, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Public Square with Matika Wilbur

Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library
901 G St. NW
Join the library for an exciting author talk with Matika Wilbur in recognition of Native American Heritage Month.

Nov. 10, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Dance and Drum Peformance from the Rappahannock Tribe Dancers

Kogan Plaza
The Rappahannock Tribe of Virginia will allow members of the GW community to experience local Native culture for themselves by coming to perform traditional dances and a drum performance in Kogan Plaza. The event is free for all to come and watch!

Nov. 11, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Honoring Native Veterans

American Indian Museum
Fourth Street SW
Recognize and honor the military service of Native Americans on Veterans Day 2023. Events include family activities; a presentation about the National Native American Veterans Memorial by the memorial designer, Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma), and curator Rebecca Trautmann; special hospitality for veterans; and a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial, preceded by the presentation of colors by the Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society.

Nov. 13, 7 p.m. The Indigenous History of Thanksgiving with Professor Silverman

Phillips Hall 415
GW Professor of Native history David Silverman will be joining us to discuss his book, “This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving,” and dispel misconceptions about the holiday.

Nov. 14, to Dec. 1 Acornucopia!

On View: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday (closed Nov. 20-26)
Panel Discussion 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Gallery 102 Smith Hall of Art
801 22nd Street NW
Social Practice graduate student Shawn Shafner presents an exhibition and series of public programs highlighting the multipurpose food source, the acorn! The exhibition offers a sensory wonderland of acorn experiences, interactive instructions for turning this ubiquitous nut into nutritious food, and invites audiences to aid in reforestation efforts by donating native acorns through our partner at Tomorrow's Trees. Click here to learn about the upcoming Acornucopia! events and how to get involved.

Nov. 15, 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Welcome to a Native Place

American Indian Museum
4th Street SW
Enjoy tribal songs from Alaska to Florida with Dennis Zotigh (Kiowa/Isanti Dakota/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo) in the Potomac Atrium. At the end of the 30-minute presentation, visitors are encouraged to ask questions pertaining to the museum and Indigenous culture, past and present.

Nov. 16, 6 p.m. Centering Indigeneity: A Talk with GW Alumni Robert Maxim and Kathy Baird

Multicultural Student Services Center
Students for Indigenous and Native American Rights (SINAR) will moderate a discussion between Senior Research Associate at Brookings Metro Robert Maxim (Mashpee Wampanoag), and Kathy Baird (Sicangu Lakota/Oneida), chief communications officer at The Washington Post to discuss their experiences as Native students at GW and as professionals.

Nov. 18 11 a.m. Learning about Indigenous Peoples

Mt. Pleasant Public Library
3160 16th St. NW
Celebrate Native American Heritage Month by learning about the First Nations Peoples[rm2]  who have always lived here. The library will have events and activities all afternoon: puppet shows, bean planting, a short lesson on the Piscataway people whose land we reside upon and a story time featuring books by Indigenous authors.

Nov. 18, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Nature Walk

Departs from Smith 102
Participate in a nature walk with local forager Bohai Vasilopolous.

Nov. 24, 10:30 a.m. A Trip to the NMAI to Honor Jingle Dress

American Indian Museum
4th Street SW
Celebrate Native American Heritage Day with us by joining Students for Indigenous and Native American Rights (SINAR) for a trip to the National Museum of the American Indian for their Honoring the Jingle Dress event. We will meet at the Foggy Bottom metro at 10:30 and head over to learn about the jingle dance and see some beautiful performances!

Nov. 29, 7 p.m. SINAR x FFS: Film Screening of “Lakota Nation vs. the United States”

University Student Center 307
SINAR and the GW Foreign Film Society will be hosting a screening of the documentary "Lakota Nation vs. the United States." Professor David Silverman will lead a discussion following the film regarding its contents and conflicts facing Indigenous people today.

Nov. 29 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Acorns: From Forest to Food

Seva Teaching Kitchen
1810 K St. NW
An acorn pancake tasting and a panel conversation about the cultural, culinary and ecological value of oak trees and their seeds.

10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. Exhibition: The Land Carries Our Ancestors

On View: Sept 22, 2023–Jan 15, 2024
National Gallery of Art, East Building (4th St and Constitution Ave NW)
Upper Level, West Bridge
The Land Carries Our Ancestors brings together works by an intergenerational group of nearly 50 living Native artists practicing across the United States. Curated by artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation), these works underscore the self-determination, survivance, and right to self-representation of Indigenous peoples.