Current Affairs

The Tohono O'odham and the Border Wall

The homeland of the O'odham people extends from the Goal River in Arizona to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. Deep religious, cultural and family ties spanned this region long before the Gadsden Purchase of 1854 imposed an international border, and they persist today. Read more »

Ofelia Zepeda

The career of the distinguished linguist and poet is winning national recognition. Read more »

100 Years and Counting

A symposium marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Museum of the American Indian brings reflections on the achievements of the predecessor of our Museum and its founder George Gustav Heye, as well as recollections of the transition to a Smithsonian institution. Read more »

The Continuing Saga of Louise Erdrich

With due respect to Bob Dylan, many in Indian Country feel the next Nobel Prize for Literature should go to Louise Erdrich. Read more »


Smithsonian historian Herman Viola eulogizes his adopted brother, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Read more »


Possibly the oldest team sport in the world, the game played by the Hero Twins of the Popol Vuh lives on in several small villages in Sinaloa, Mexico. Researchers are hoping to save it from extinction. Read more »

Awe Ua Hiti E!

In 1976, the Polynesian Voyaging Society launched its sea-going outrigger canoe, the first built in Hawaii in centuries, to show how Pacific islanders explored and settled the vast expanse of their ocean. As the craft visits the United States on the last phases of a dramatic four-year, round-the-world voyage, it has done far more, sparking a renaissance in Native Hawaiian and Polynesian culture and conveying a message to all humanity about the need to live in balance with the island Earth. Read more »

Remembering the Vanished

After five years of research, 582 cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women and girls have been entered into NWAC’s Sisters in Spirit database. In 2010, the Native Women’s Association concluded that “the intergenerational impact and resulting vulnerabilities of colonization and state policies – such as residential schools, the 60s Scoop and the child welfare system – are underlying factors in the outcomes of violence experienced by Aboriginal women and girls.” Read more »

Nation to Nation

Treaties matter, not only to American Indians, but to everyone who lives in the United States. The United States acquired much of its land through treaties with Indian tribes. These negotiated, bilateral agreements are, therefore, fundamental to understanding how the United States was created, and how its citizens obtained the land and natural resources they enjoy today. Read more »

Ways of Knowing: "Naked Science or Native Wisdom"

When a besotted college student stumbled over a human skull in the sludge of the Columbia River in Washington State in July 1996, police first thought it was an unsolved homicide. But it soon turned into a major battlefield in the on-going struggle between the western and the indigenous outlook on the universe. Read more »