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Exhibitions & Events

Greater Nicoya female figure-vessel, AD 800-1200. Linea Vieja area, Costa Rica.

Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed

April 18, 2015 - October 2018
New York, NY

Cerámica de los Ancestros examines seven regions representing distinct Central American cultural areas that are today part of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Spanning the period from 1000 BC to the present, the ceramics featured, selected from the museum’s collection of more than 12,000 pieces from the region, are augmented with significant examples of work in gold, jade, shell, and stone.

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AIM drum, amplifier, and accessories

Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations

September 21, 2014–December 2021
Washington, DC

From a young age, most Americans learn about the Founding Fathers, but are told very little about equally important and influential Native diplomats and leaders of Indian Nations.

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Eagle-feather war bonnets adorn U.S. military uniform jackets at a Ton-Kon-Gah

Patriot Nations: Native Americans in our Nation’s Armed Forces

The exhibition Patriot Nations: Native Americans in our Nation’s Armed Forces opened at the NMAI in Washington, D.C. and will be on view through January 2018. Taking up the charge given by Congress, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) will establish a National Native American Veterans Memorial in the heart of Washington, DC. When the memorial is unveiled, we will recognize for the first time on a national scale the enduring and distinguished service of Native Americans in every branch of the U.S. armed forces.

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Colonial Inka woman’s manta (shawl)

The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire

June 26, 2015–June 1, 2020
Washington, DC

The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire explores the foundations of the Inka Road in earlier Andean cultures, technologies that made building the road possible, the cosmology and political organization of the Inka world, and the legacy of the Inka Empire during the colonial period and in the present day.


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Lakota model baby carrier

Our Universes: Traditional Knowledge Shapes Our World

September 21, 2004–April 2019  
Washington, DC

Our Universes focuses on indigenous cosmologies—worldviews and philosophies related to the creation and order of the universe—and the spiritual relationship between humankind and the natural world.

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Nanticoke schoolboys playing bear in ring

Return to a Native Place: Algonquian Peoples of the Chesapeake

Washington, DC

Meet the Native peoples of the Chesapeake Bay region–what is now Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware–through photographs, maps, ceremonial and everyday objects, and interactives.

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Yupik Yurapiaq and the Quyana (Thank You) Song Dance

Circle of Dance

October 6, 2012–October 8, 2017
New York, NY

Circle of Dance  presents ten social and ceremonial dances from throughout the Americas. In all but two cases, the dances are described by Native community members. Each of the dances embodies an awareness of a greater cosmic order and, often, the importance of reciprocal relationships in maintaining that order. In other words, life-sustaining concepts are embedded in the dances.

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Muisca clay head, Colombia, A.D. 1200–1600. Clay, paint.

Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian

New York, NY

This spectacular, permanent exhibition of some 700 works of Native art from throughout North, Central, and South America demonstrates the breadth of the museum's renowned collection and highlights the historic importance of many of these iconic objects.

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