Record Breaking Crowds Attend Autry’s Native American Heritage Weekend

Tuesday, November 10 2009 15:39   Native Americans
Nearly 3,000 visitors enjoyed a weekend of Native American history and culture at the Autry National Center Nov. 6-8, 2009 in Los Angeles, which featured three major events including the annual Intertribal Arts Marketplace.

The other events included the much-anticipated exhibition, "The Art of Native American Basketry: A Living Tradition," and the kick-off of the 10th Anniversary season of "Native Voices" at the Autry with the play Carbon Black by Terry Gomez (Comanche).

"It is extraordinary to see the vast amount of support the Native American community from around the country has shown for the Autry and our programs," said John L. Gray, President and CEO of the Autry National Center. "We are fortunate to celebrate Native American culture and heritage during the Intertribal weekend and to provide several platforms for the diverse Native voices to be heard by all,"

A special blessing by the Gabrieleno/Tongva Tribe of San Gabriel opened the festivities at Friday night's exclusive reception and preview of the exhibition, The Art of Native American Basketry: A Living Tradition.

The event was attended by a crowd of more than 500 attendees, comprised of intertribal artists, Native Voices cast and crew, Autry members, and several of the Basketry exhibition's basketweaver consultants from around the country.

The Friday evening festivities included the presentation of juried artist awards. The Jackie Autry Purchase Award was given to Mohawk artist Sosakete for his traditional Mohawk pottery. His piece will now be accessioned into the Autry's permanent collection. Best in Show and Best Textile were awarded to TahNibaa Naataanii (Navajo) for her woven kilt.

A packed early-morning members-only preview of the 125 Intertribal Arts Marketplace artists representing approximately 52 tribes kicked-off a busy weekend with lines forming promptly at 10 a.m.

More than 1,500 families and a diverse crowd of people from all over Los Angeles watched traditional dances by the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe, hoop dancing by Terry Goedel and family, Pow Wow dances by the Wild Horse Singers, and listened to the peaceful sounds of Native flute by Ed Kabotie. Storytellers Jacque Nunez (Acjachemen) and Robert Greygrass (Lakota) entertained children and adults alike with their traditional tribal stories.

Hands-on family activities included making ledger art, basketry, and arrowhead necklaces. A full-sized Lakota tipi brought by Rex "Wambli Sapa" Carolin (Cheyenne River Sioux) wowed visitors as they gazed at the towering tipi featuring painted buffalo.

A special treat was watching basketweaver Ruby Chimerica (Hopi) who demonstrated the making of piki bread. The blue corn mixture was thinly spread across a flat black rock sitting atop a fire of cedar wood. Visitors were able to sample and purchase a bundle of piki bread and roasted blue corn to take home.

Sunday at Intertribal Arts Marketplace saw a crowd of more than 1,200, many of whom were first-time visitors and shoppers purchasing everything from turquoise and silver jewelry, Pendleton coats, large and small-scale paintings, to buffalo-hide art, and animal sculptures.

Saturday night's world premiere of Native Voices at the Autry's play, Carbon Black by Terry Gomez (Comanche) was attended by more than 100 theater-goers. The Autry's Wells Fargo Theater witnessed powerful performances by veteran actor Sheila Tousey (Menominee, Stockbridge Munsee), rising-star Tonantzin Carmelo (Tongva, Kumeyaay), the young up-and-coming star Michael Drummond, and solid actor Stephan Wolfert.

Celebrating their 10th Anniversary season, Native Voices continues to expand and raise the bar of their selected plays through year-round workshops, retreats, outreach, play-readings, and productions.

The Art of Native American Basketry: A Living Tradition continues on display through May 30, 2010, and Native Voices at the Autry's play Carbon Black by Terry Gomez (Comanche) ends Nov. 22, 2009.

The 2010 Intertribal Arts Marketplace will be held Nov. 6 and 7. For more information, visit

About the Autry National Center

The Autry National Center is an intercultural history center dedicated to exploring the experiences and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West.

The Autry celebrates the cultures of the American West through three institutions on two Los Angeles campuses: the Southwest Museum of the American Indian in Mt. Washington; the Museum of the American West in Griffith Park; and the Institute for the Study for the American West, which comprises the Braun Research Library and the Autry Library and is headquartered in Griffith Park.


Related Articles