February 04, 2005

Crapo: Opening Of Native American Museum â??A Great Eventâ??

Congressional delegation to host tribes on Wednesday

Washington, DC â?? More than 11,000 members of over 415 Native American tribes, including representatives of Idaho tribes, gathered on the National Mall this morning to celebrate the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian, a happening Idaho Senator Mike Crapo called â??a great event.â?? Crapo and the rest of Idahoâ??s Congressional delegation will host a Capitol Hill reception Wednesday night for the Idaho tribes in Washington attending the event. The museumâ??s opening festivities included a tribal procession along the Mall, speeches, storytelling, a marketplace and a traditional blessing on the museum prior to the ribbon cutting. â??This museum sits on the last open spot on the National Mall, a testament to its importance as well as the publicâ??s immense interest in this project,â?? Crapo said. â??It is a step in recognizing and preserving our American heritage. The new museum and its outreach efforts will enrich our knowledge and appreciation of this portion of our nationâ??s history and the ongoing contributions of Native Americans. Todayâ??s dedication was a great event that many, including members of Idaho tribes, will remember for a long time.â?? The National Museum of the American Indian was established by an act of Congress in 1989. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and is dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history and arts of the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The 250,000 square-foot museum contains objects from numerous regions in North, Central and South America. Todayâ??s activities mark the start of the First Americans Festival on the Mall, a six-day event featuring 300 performers representing 50 native communities, along with crafts, demonstrations and storytelling. Crapoâ??s November Capitol Watch program will feature footage of the event and an interview with W. Richard West Jr., the Director of the new museum. For information on viewing this cable program on Tuesday, November 9, visit http://crapo.senate.gov. The museum website is http://www.americanindian.si.edu. # # #