Ceremonies

Ceremonies

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Ceremonies

Ceremonies

Everything is Alive

Everything is Alive

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Ceremonies are an important part of the foundation of this place.

Ceremonies

An Audio Transcript

Ceremonies are an important part of the foundation of this place. Ceremonies are like the food and medicine. For almost every occasion in a Native village there is a ceremony. The Grandfather Rocks also speak to the longevity of Native habitation on the land. Native peoples believe they the rocks are living beings, like this building, the plant life, and the collection objects. All are living beings, and deserve our respect. The Grandfather Rocks remind visitors that everything has life and that the natural world that surrounds us is to be protected and cherished. José Montaño.

"We believe that everything is alive. We call them Grandfathers because they are the oldest living materials. All these philosophies, all these ideas you know everything is intertwined with all the objects inside. This is why we say the habitat, the building, and the exhibits are not separate. Everything is interconnected. Altogether it represents one body."

Everything is Alive

Everything is alive here; and everything is in
balance, the way that it is intended to be.

This Museum was born with the help of hundreds of
Native peoples who graciously shared their stories, histories and philosophies
to those who gave so many years to bringing this Museum to life.

Where we are – outside the Museum – is just as
important as what you see and experience inside. The building, the plant life,
the exhibition objects – everything has a living, breathing spirit that has
great meaning to this Hemisphere's Native peoples.

Again, here is Karenne Wood from the Monacan Indian
Nation in Virginia.

"…Bless the earth and sky with our thanks.
Bless the creatures with our thanks. Bless the plants with our thanks. Bless
the trees, the waters and the mountains
with our thanks. Bless all those who have come here to be among us and those
who are making this place for our stories…Let our people live. Let our stories
live. Only the earth lasts and only remembers everything. Let it remember us in
a good way."

We have built this Museum to honor, first and foremost, the Native people from this region. At the same time, we honor all Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere past, present and future -- those of
us who are alive today, the ancestors who have gone before us, and those yet to
be born.

This tour was made possible through the generous support of the Smithsonian Women's
Committee.