History

The Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon has historic meaning for Northeastern Indian runners, some of whom came to national prominence in this storied race and left an indelible mark on its route. For Indian Country, the race is a continuation of the great indigenous tradition of long-distance running. Read more »

Unearthing the Story of Tibes

When Hurricane Eloise brushed southern Puerto Rico in 1975, it uncovered an ancient ceremonial complex buried for more than seven centuries. L. Antonio Curet, the Museum’s Curator of Archaeology, reports on the changing interpretations of its picture of indigenous social structure. Read more »

100 Years and Counting

Recollections of the transition to a Smithsonian institution. Read more »

The Mystery of the Two Gudrids

A puzzling passage in the Norse account of an expedition to Vinland 1,000 years ago has recently been recognized as a nearly verbatim record of an encounter between the Icelandic heroine Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir and a young indigenous, probably Beothuk, girl. It tells of a missed chance for peaceful Contact. Read more »

Patriot Nations

American Indians have served in our nation’s military since colonial times. In recent decades, they have served at a higher rate in proportion to their population than any other ethnic group. Why? For many, military service is an extension of their warrior traditions. Others serve to reaffirm treaty alliances with the United States. Still others serve for sheer love of home and country. Read more »

The Art of Capturing Horses

Toward the end of World War II, Joseph Medicine Crow (Apsaalooke [Crow]) performed one of the traditional Plains Indian feats of valor, relieving the enemy of his horses. Here in his words is that famous episode. Read more »

Army Logic

In a military irony, a U.S. Army unit recruited from the Iroquois Six Nations of New York was posted to its historical homeland in North Carolina and heroically repulsed an attack led by several of the Confederacy’s most famous officers. Read more »

Great Iroquois Runners

The messengers who traversed the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, often carrying diplomatic dispatches embodied in wampum belts, were forerunners of the champion long-distance athletes Lewis “Deerfoot” Bennett (1830–1896) and Tom Longboat (1887–1949). Bringing the history full circle, Longboat and other First Nations Olympians served as dispatch runners in World War I. Read more »

100 Years And Counting

The Museum is now celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, on May 10, 1916. MAI’s founder George Gustav Heye (1874–1957) was a fascinating, passionate and intellectually curious (some would say obsessed) collector who over his lifetime amassed what is regarded as the most comprehensive and important American Indian collection in the world, hemispheric in scope, with cultural materials from hundreds of tribal communities. Read more »

From West Point To Wahoo Swamp

David Moniac (1802–1836), a Creek Indian, entered the United States Military Academy in 1817 only a decade and a half after the institution’s founding. Although not the first American Indian to attend West Point, he appears to be the first to have graduated. Read more »