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Spring 2014What's New at NMAI

Kootenai baby carrier
Kootenai baby carrier, ca. 1880, Idaho, Wood, deer hide, wool, glass beads, silk, dentalium, conch shells, 106 x 39 x 8 cm, John D. Bagley Collection, 10/1082

About the Infinity of Nations exhibition:

In October 2010, Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian opened in New York City. This permanent exhibit features over 800 treasures that span hemispheric breadth - from the tip of Tierra del Fuego (Chile) to the Arctic and chronological depth - ranging in time from 9000 B.C. to the present. The collection is organized into 10 regions: California and Great Basin, Arctic and Subarctic, Plains, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Andes, Woodlands, Mesoamerica and Caribbean, Amazonia, and Tierra del Fuego.

The title for the exhibit was derived from the journal of a French colonist who wrote that the Americas were populated by an “infinity of nations.” The phrase recognizes that the Native peoples who lived in North, Central, and South America have distinct cultures each with its own language, history, laws, and territory. In fact, each group of people is a sovereign nation.
Acoma jar
Polychrome jar, ca. 1900–1920, Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico, Clay, paint, 19/4330

Large jars (ollas) were used for hauling and storing water. Many of the painted designs used on Acoma, Laguna, and Zuni pottery resembles the fine-line hatching designs found on ancestral pottery from Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon. Hatching designs (the small lines that are close together) may represent rain.


We greatly appreciate the teachers from Anne Arundel County Schools, who visited us at NMAI-DC on April 9 and to Jaque Fragua and Melanie Patricio who contributed to this issue's Catching Water from the Sky: Pueblo Adaptations lesson plan!

 Greetings, Teachers!
We’re glad to share our second quarterly e-newsletter with you and that you have become part of our teacher community.

This is your source for NMAI K-12 educational offerings, including new exhibitions and events, classroom resources, and more!

This issue introduces the Infinity of Nations Culture Quest website, that was developed for classrooms, in conjunction with NMAI-NY’s spectacular exhibition, Infinity of Nations. We have also combined existing and new classroom resources that help support teaching about the Pueblo people.

Please take a moment to register with us if you aren’t already on our list, and feel free to forward this
e-newsletter to a colleague.

E-mail us, too, at to share your ideas for improving this e-newsletter and making it more relevant in the classroom.
RG sig 4
Renee Gokey
(Eastern Shawnee/Sac and Fox/Miami)
Education Extension Services


Storytelling with Donna Couteau (Sac and Fox)

Informal storytelling sessions in the Education Center (Tipi Room). Thursdays from 10:30 am – 1 pm, on a first come, first served basis.
NMAI-NY - Ongoing through May 29, 2014

The Choctaw Nation: Through a New Lens
Join the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma for food demos, workshops, and performances, including Native dancers, singers, storytellers and booths showcasing beadwork, jewelry, pottery, flutes and the Choctaw language.
NMAI-DC - June 27-28, 2014

Circle of Dance! Summer Dance 2014
Storytelling and Dance with Native Artists
Tuesdays through Fridays at 11 am and 1 pm
NMAI-NY-July 8-11, 2014: Louis Mofsie (Hopi/Winnebago) and Michael Taylor (Choctaw)
July 15-18, 2014: Louis Mofsie (Hopi/Winnebago) and Michael Taylor (Choctaw)
July 22-25, 2014: Ty Defoe (Ojibwe/Oneida)
July 29-August 1, 2014: Ty Defoe (Ojibwe/Oneida)

Living Earth Festival
Enjoy the 5th annual Living Earth Festival with live music & dance performances, a Native cooking competition, film screenings, crafts and storytelling for families. The Living Earth Symposium on July 18 will address the use of renewable energy, inventive environmental design and stewardship.
NMAI-DC - July 18-20, 2014

Chickasaw Festival
The Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma celebrates with food, dancing, singing, storytelling, beading, woodwork, pottery, weaving and more.
NMAI-DC - August 15-16, 2014

See NMAI Events Calendar

New! Making Marks: Print’s from Crow’s Shadow Press
- Through May 26, 2014

New! Commemorating Controversy: The Dakota-U.S. War of 1862
NMAI- NY Through June 1, 2014

New! Robert Davidson: Abstract Impulse
NMAI-NY - April 12-September 14, 2014

Upcoming! Indelible: The Platinum Prints of Larry McNeil and Will Wilson
NMAI-DC - June 07, 2014-January 15, 2015

In Focus 

Infinity of Nations Exhibition Website

Culture Quest website image (Redo 4 copy)
Explore the Culture Quest classroom website. 

The website, Infinity of Nations: Culture Quest was developed in collaboration with New York public school teachers to address Native Studies requirements and improve the quality and accuracy of course content. The website creates distance-learning opportunities for children and teachers who cannot visit the museum, and it also allows visiting schools to reinforce their museum experience with classroom-based resources. Infinity of Nations: Culture Quest is designed to be interactive, non-linear and cross-disciplinary — characteristics that were prioritized by NMAI educators and participating school teachers. There are particular connections to social studies, American history, and language arts. Teacher pages in the site provides educators with information about how to address Native terminology and issues, the dos-and-don’ts of hands-on activities, and in-depth background on each website section. The website's design provides multiple opportunities for students to build knowledge, gain insights, and broaden their perspectives ---key tenets of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.    Recomended for Grades 4 -8. 

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Ancestral Pueblo jars image
Ancestral Pueblo jars AD 900-1130 Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico 5/2116, 5/2109

Cylindrical mugs such as these found from Chaco Canyon incorporated drinking chocolate made from cacao. 
Learn more!

Classroom Resources
 Laguna Pueblo children grab the food items being tossed from the rooftop above. Image courtesy of Idris + Tony. ©2011 Billy Luther.

Vision Maker Media shares Native stories with the world through Public Broadcasting that represent the cultures, experiences and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives. They support the use of documentaries in the classroom and community by developing viewer discussion guides and standards-based curricula. Their searchable on-line database allows educators to find grade-appropriate lessons plans for many tribes across the country.

Narrated by Parker Posey, Grab the film is an intimate portrait of the little-documented Grab Day in the villages of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe, who annually throw water and food items from the rooftop of a home to people standing below them.
Vision Maker Media works with qualified educators to develop grade appropriate materials (using core curricula standards) for classroom use. Explore this exceptional curriculum and use it in your classroom to promote student understanding and learning!

GRAB Educational Guide (Grades 3-12) PDF

To Learn More
Did You Know

Do Indians do rain dances?
Yes, some tribes maintain the tradition of rain dances. Like all human beings, the Native peoples of the Americas recognize the importance of rain. In addition to supporting life, rain is seen by some Native cultures as a blessing and cleansing of the earth. Ceremonies, prayers, ritual art, songs, and dances are among the many ways Native people acknowledge and help to maintain balance in the natural world. These spiritual and culturally important traditions are part of complex religious cycles that take place throughout the year, year after year.


Tell Us What You Think

We have heard some really good ideas from you, our teacher community! Let us know what you think of the resources we provided. Did you use any of these materials or websites in class? Were they helpful? What else would you like to see? If we use your idea, we will send you one of NMAI's books for the classroom for free!
Coming Next Issue
to Environmental Challenges

This website, developed by the National Museum of the American Indian in collaboration with four Native communities, documents how they are responding to environmental challenges in their homelands.
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