A variety of performances and educational opportunities will highlight the fifth annual Texas American Indian Heritage Day celebration on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Presented in partnership with Great Promise for American Indians, the event will feature public performances from 6:30 to 8:00 PM.
Led by Texas State Representative Roberto Alonzo (D-Dallas), members of the Texas State Legislature passed H.B. No. 174 in 2013 to create a day to honor the history and heritage of American Indians in Texas and to recognize their many contributions to Texas culture. Held the last Friday in September, American Indian Heritage Day celebrates the historical, cultural and social contributions of American Indian communities to the state. This is observed through ceremonies, activities and programs in public schools and other places to celebrate traditional and contemporary American Indian culture.
Dancing, drumming, storytelling and educational presentations will occur throughout the day at the museum for school groups. In the evening, the public is invited to enjoy the traditional and contemporary performance arts of Texas’s American Indian groups. This free public program will honor American Indian history, and highlight the continued vibrant cultural traditions through dancing and drumming performances.
The Bullock Museum has planned additional events to mark this year’s celebration, including a free screening of What Was Ours on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 7 PM as part of the Texas Focus film series. The documentary tells the story of a young journalist and a teenage powwow princess, both of the Arapaho tribe, as they travel with a Shoshone elder to rediscover lost history and inspire hope. A panel discussion with Q&A will follow the screening.
Family Album: Photographs by Pierre Tartoue, is an exhibition on view on the museum’s second floor featuring 22 black and white photographs that capture a renaissance in American Indian communities in Oklahoma during the late 1930s to early 1950s. The photographs represent a tribal family album, telling the story of the survival and triumph of multi-generational families in an era of depression and war.
Beginning Sept. 16, the museum will show Smoke That Travels, a personal documentary by 18-year-old Kayla Briët that explores preservation and loss of culture and her own identity as Prairie Band Potawatomi. In the short film, Briët explores her indigenous roots through the memories and teachings of her family and examines what it means to be Native American today. Screening daily through January 7, 2018.
2017 AUSTIN POWWOW AND AMERICAN INDIAN HERITAGE FESTIVAL
The Austin Powwow, a family oriented cultural event, is one of the largest single day Native American Powwows in the country. In addition to a traditional Powwow with dance contests, Native drumming, and singing, the festival features outdoor storytelling and indigenous music, a Native American arts and crafts fair, and Native American food. Travis County Exposition Center, 7311 Decker Ln, Austin TX 78724. Saturday, November 4, 2017, 9 AM – 10 PM. All ages. $5 for adults, FREE for children under 12.