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June 30, 2010

"Up Where We Belong" opens at the NMAI

These lucky people are lined up to see LINK WRAY in concert!

You could be just as lucky, if you show up at the NMAI on July 2 at 5:30 P.M.  You won't even need a ticket!

Our new exhibit, Up Where We Belong, opens at the NMAI with a tribute concert featuring Mohawk guitar master Derek Miller. Miller will be performing a mix of blues and rock, including many songs by Shawnee guitar legend Link Wray and several of the other great Native performers we are featuring in the exhibit. Up Where We Belong can be seen--and heard--in the Sealaska Gallery on the second floor of the museum on the mall. If you have time during the day Friday, Derek Miller will be giving a preview in the amphitheater on the north side of the museum building at noon.

DM #3-hi-res


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What an awesome exhibit and concert. Derek rocked the house. Loved to see him and Stevie Salas playing "Rumble" together. Can't wait to do it again!!!!

That was Awesome!!!! I agree, "Rumble" rocked!

Most excellent photographs! cheers.

A banner exhibition highlighting the contribution of Native Americans to contemporary music, including Russell "Big Chief" Moore and Rita Coolidge.
That was interesting thanks.

Wow... sorry I missed this, looks awesome, and I am a fan, however I am a month late!

Derek Miller is truly a great guitar player. This is a show that shouldn't be missed if you are into guitars and good guitar players.

Erin, Derek and Stevie playing "Rumble" together was the greatest thing ever!

Is there video from the concert available? I can host it if it helps.

Thanks Kevin for the post.

I actually had the privilege to see Derek Miller....amazing.

Awesome exhibit, I was so lucky to be able to see it.

Still thinking, "how could i have missed that?" *sigh

Very nice pictures. Unfortunately i couldn't see Derek Miller yet. Hope this will change in future !:)

Man, I totally missed this concert.. I will not miss the next one!!


Would have loved to see this show - Link Wray and Duane Eddy are amongst my biggest electric guitar influences. Unfortunately, I'm located in Europe... I've heard a lot of great things about Derek Miller too, would have loved to catch him live.


For all you people that missed him and still havent heard Derek Millers music, I found him on youtube. Just type in "Up Where We Belong + Derek Miller". Hope this helps.


Derek Miller is always striving for perfection in his work. If you check out his studio albums, you will see what I mean. Truly a great performer who I really hope to see play live one day.


Derek Miller is very handsome!

Cant wait for his next performance. I wish there was a way to be notified about his upcoming concerts. Any ideas?


I know John, I really wish there was some way to stay informed and in the loop when it comes to his performances and upcoming show dates.

Is there a video of the concert on Youtube or some other video sharing site.

I have heard Derek being described as being like a mix of Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and Kris Kristofferson.

Well the fact is he's better than all 3 of those guys! Such a dynamic performer.

Yes, it is the incredible photographs Derek Miller.

Amin Suar

Huge fan of Derek Miller here! Can't believe I missed this!



I am a big fan of guitar love guns and roses, just wondered is this on youtube somewhere. Also very interested in the American Indian community. Just met an American Indian living on a reserve and he was visiting Las Vegas, very interesting guy...

I'll certainly be back here

Derek Miller is truly a great guitar player. This is a show that shouldn't be missed if you are into guitars and good guitar players.

Damned If You Do is my favorite DM song. With the famous musician/stoner Willie Nelson singing a duet with Derek.

I definitely dig Miller's blues style, but I wish he would go a little more folky the way of Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt. Those guys were legends. I would still love to see Derek live though, great picture by the way!

Amazing! I find Derek to be a breath of fresh air. "Solid Man", truly a gifted guitarist!

Couldn't read all your posts, but judging on this particular one I can say your blog makes a difference. And it's just because it actually adds value to the reader, and not just fluff. Keep posting and inspiring your readers, thank you.

blues is the most emotional music to play on the guitar and miller really captures that in his playing.

Still thinking, "how could i have missed that?" *sigh

thanks for your article

I always miss cool things like this. Great article though. It excited and saddened me all at the same time.


Sam—If it's any consolation, Up Where We Belong is scheduled to be on view at the museum's Heye Center in lower Manhattan from summer 2012 through spring 2013.

NMAI—Cool! Thank you. I actually think I will be there at that time.


Nice Post!!!!! I am a big fan of guitar and roses. Also very interested in the American Indian community. Just met an American Indian living on a reserve and he was visiting Las Vegas, very interesting guy...

I love how much can be expressed through the soul with Blues music. A real insight in to the singer / musician. I've heard of Derek Miller's awesomeness... Would be keen to see him in Concert.

June 14, 2010

Flag Day - the legacy of "Nations"

 “Nations” is a stunning work of art. Featured in the Windows on Collections showcase on the third floor of the National Museum of the American Indian, this beautiful work measures 20 X 30 inches, contains 130 910 seed beads, and entailed 1500 hours to complete. What is truly remarkable, however, is the poignant message this flag delivers. Incorporated seamlessly into the pattern of the American flag, Ms. Taylor included the names of 456 American Indian tribes, and quotes by Native and non-Native authors about what it means to be American:

“I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Francis Bellamy, 1892

“Some day the earth will weep, she will beg for her life, she will cry with tears of blood. You will make a choice, if you will help her or let her die. And when she dies, you too will die.” John Hollow Horn, Oglala Lakota, 1932

“We are born free and united brothers, each as much a lord as the other … I am the first and last of my nation … subject only to the Great Spirit.” Huron, 1693

“Now join hand in hand brave Americans all! By uniting we stand – by dividing we fall.” John Dickinson, 1768

While the aforementioned quotes undoubtedly inspire reverence in Native and non-Native Americans alike, the quote that most spoke to me is Ms. Taylor’s own included quotation – “I am proud to be an American.” Ms. Taylor explained that this piece she created is a “mourning tribute to the original nations of people who lived on this continent” who, in many cases, lost their way of life due to the arrogance and carelessness of colonization. She lamented also the lack of information and unwillingness to understand the sad realities of Native American history. She hoped that her work would not only serve as a cathartic release of the frustration and sadness she and other American Indians have felt, but also that it would remind us all how we are all inextricably bound to each other, and that our future depends on how we care for each other, saying that the events of 9/11 reaffirmed her belief that “as Americans we do need each other if we are the create the future that our descendants deserve to inherit”.

I am happy and honoured to report that her work more than fulfills the lofty expectations she had intended for it. This nation is built on others that are older than these current political borders and Ms. Taylor’s tribute showcases those legacies that strengthen the peoples of this country. Though Ms. Taylor has recently passed, the inspiration she bestows upon all who see her work or hear her story will understand her personal conviction that American country and Indian country are not mutually exclusive and that we are bound together by a shared history, and especially by a shared future.


Happy Flag Day, everyone!

-Ellen Dobrowolski (Métis), Summer Intern

Comments (10)

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Very impressive! All those hours of work! Rest In Peace Ms. Taylor!
What a beautiful work of art!!

Is there someplace we can get a print of this great work?

Prints are currently in production, actually. The NMAI doesn't have a date of availability yet but we will keep you posted. Thanks for your interest!

Wow, what a neat flag. I have never seen a flag that unique. Hope you don't mind if I copy that picture for my background.

Nice flag. Makes me think of the new york art revolution in the sixties where they made a similar flag, but with stars. I like the update.

A good study in Flag Day. But would you please tell me, how do you do your study before writing this information? Maybe do you learn from other references, doing some surveys, researches or interviewing people?

Thanks and regards,

Rolando Betcher

What an inspiring work! Talk about dedication and a labor of love...130,910 seed beads...WOW!

Although it is a ways back my 10th gggMother was Pocahontas. I too am proud to be an American and have a deep reverence for my Native American ancestry, for without them I would not be.

Ms. Taylor I honor and thank you for your creation - "Nations"!

Impressive work! I'd love to find a flag like this... Balexert

Wow, you might say that the technology is very good! Photo, so beautiful, very clear, wish you good luck, create the future together!

I would very much like to see this piece showcased and prints made available of the words beaded into it. This was one of the most moving and imprtant pieces in the entire smithsonian for me. Thank you for preserving this for all time .

June 11, 2010

Intern Trip to GGHC New York, New York!! – January 14-15, 2010

I began my winter internship, keep in mind close to 7 months ago, with the initial understanding that a great learning experience was ahead of me. However, I was completely unaware the extent of how much I would learn or how much fun I would have while learning it. Constant reminders of unexpected fun while learning and engaging in something I am passionate about were always popping up. The last but among the most noteworthy little reminders was our intern trip to New York City.

I had never been to New York prior to this trip. In fact, I am a born and raised sunny Southern California girl. It doesn’t get much more non-New Yorker than that. So, you can imagine my excitement upon learning of the travels we were to embark upon. The day of our departure finally arrived and of course I was coming down with a cold, although I did not allow that to ruin my anticipation or my intrigue. Thus, I loaded up on the Dayquil and Kleenex and we were off!

I remember we left Reagan National Airport on an 8 a.m. flight and arrived at La Guaria New York Airport at approximately 9:15 a.m. We headed straight to the George Gustav Heye Center (GGHC) to begin our brief introduction of the exhibits A Song for a Horse Nation and Identity by Design-Tradition, Change, and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses. Ramp It Up is also currently on display. I was immediately impressed by the GGHC building. It seems like the entire building started to glow and sunset. The maritime architecture was beautifully crafted. The pillars even resembled the waves of the ocean that rested outside.


GGHC New York City

We toured Identity by Design-Tradition, Change, and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses first. The dresses were absolutely exquisite. The beading was so elaborate and detailed. Within the exhibition there was a cultural interpreter demonstrating the patience and skill it takes to bead even the simplest brooch. Needless to say an entire dress of many layers would on average take months, even years. One of my favorite dresses in the exhibition was a Kiowa battle dress. The garment had a full war headdress as well. I really liked this piece because of what the dress represented to the women who war them, the men they were honoring, and the entire tribal reverence and tradition. A woman would wear a battle dress to represent her husband or some other significant male who was at war. It reminded me of how influential a woman’s support of her husband, her brothers, or of her sons, can be. Another tantalizing aspect of the Identity by Design-Tradition, Change, and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses, was a quote placed along side a wall within the exhibition. It read, “I don’t need to wear a shirt that says ‘I’m Comanche’. If you look at my dress you know what tribe I am.” It reminded me of how immensely proud Native people are and just how representative the technique and design of Native art is. One symbol, or color, or placement of an object has enough weight to ultimately change the meaning of an entire work of art.

After a lengthy stroll through Identity by Design-Tradition, Change, and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses, we set off to tour A Song for a Horse Nation. This exhibition was probably the most emotionally moving at the GGHC. I remember almost breaking into tears more than a few times. I learned so much about the story of horses to so many tribes. I learned things I didn’t even know about Lii’ (horse) to the Diné (Navajo), my own tribe. The stories were profound and it was nice to be reminded of how important the horse has been and will always be to Native people. In my attempt to understand more I learned of a proposition to create a “Diné Shi Lii’ Baa Hashniih Day” or Navajo Nation Horse Day. It is still in the works but sounds promising.

Towards the end of the tour we were able to speak with our relative department employees. It was nice to pick their brains and ask questions pertaining to the differences facilitating museum work in public affairs while in New York versus D.C. From what I gathered, NMAI public affair is accepted on a much friendlier scale here in D.C. I think that has a lot to do with the museum’s location on the Mall and the fact that it is surrounded by all the other Smithsonian Institutions. People come to D.C. expecting to tour museums and attend festivals and thusly, are happy to hear of them through us. My heart goes out to you GGHC/OPA…Stay Strong!

While in New York, I was fortunate enough to have a spare minute to take in the typical tourist experiences. We traveled across the Hudson to Our Lady Liberty, ate greasy hot dogs and pizza, and took questionable pictures with the Wall Street bull statue (all in good fun). Needless to say, it was a blast!

Now, some of you might be asking yourselves, “Why is she sending this blog out now, nearly five months later? Well to put your curiosity to ease…I’m back for a second internship! You see, it was experiences like our tour of the GGHC and the opportunities to experience a new place, people, and way of life that has brought me back to NMAI. I am writing this blog now because I wanted to share with the world an understanding one only receives while interning at a place like NMAI. The National Museum of the American Indian has offered a valuable learning opportunity surpass most others. It would be silly of me to limit myself to only one internship…I just hope they accept third-timers...but I doubt it.

-Glennas'ba Augborne, NMAI Summer Intern

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Your insightful comments about your visit to the G.G. Heye Center in NYC brings back fond memories for my wife and me. We were there in 1997..at the insistence of a family friend, Alvin Josephy,Jr., a noted historian and stalwart proponent of keeping the Heye collection intact..and in NYC! The stately former NYC Custom house affords a marvelous venue for the priceless Heye collection of American Indian art and cultural objects. Thanks for sharing your experience(s).

David G. Campbell
Board Member
Native American Cultural Center and Museum
(Now under construction in Oklahoma City, OK)