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February 25, 2011

Native Music for the Masses


If there are some visitors that are missing the Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture exhibition that has left the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. – relief has come in the form of the original playlist of music that was featured on the audio tour, courtesy of Rhapsody.com.

For those of you who are not familiar, Up Where We Belong opened in July 2010 in the Sealaska Gallery on the second level which featured 13 artists that influenced music over the course of a century covering various genres of music. The exhibition also featured an audio tour with excerpts from the curators as well as songs from the featured artists.

So all you have to do now is search your local search engine: “rhapsody nmai” or “music nmai.” Better yet, here is the link: http://www.rhapsody.com/member/nmai

I had so much fun re-creating the playlist (that has been so well received) so much that I have the privilege, no the pleasure of creating a few more based on the artists and themes. I have so many ideas, so who knows where this will go. So keep coming back and check up on what’s new.

1. Mildred Bailey - Rocking Chair, written by Hoagy Carmichael.
2. Oscar Pettiford – Monti Cello, by Oscar Pettiford.
3. Russell “Big Chief” Moore - Someday, by Louis Armstrong, with Russell Moore, trombone.
4. Johnny Cash - The Ballad of Ira Hayes, written by Peter La Farge.
5. Peter La Farge - Drums, written and performed by Peter La Farge.
6. Link Wray - Rumble, by Link Wray and His Ray-Men. 1958.
7. Rita Coolidge - Higher and Higher, 1972.
8. Walela - Cherokee Morning Song, Written and performed by Walela, (Rita Coolidge, Priscilla Coolidge, and Laura Satterfield.
9. The Band - The Weight, written by Robbie Robertson, performed by The Band, 1968.
10. Robbie Robertson - Ghost Dance, written and performed by Robbie Robertson.
11. Redbone - Wovoka, written and performed by Redbone. 1973.
12. Redbone - Come and Get Your Love, written by Pat and Lolly Vegas. 1974.
13. Jesse Ed Davis - Doctor, My Eyes, by Jackson Browne, with Jesse Ed Davis, lead guitar. 1972.
14. Taj Mahal (featuring Jesse Ed Davis, lead and slide guitar) - Statesboro Blues. 1968.
15. Buffy Sainte-Marie - Universal Soldier.
16. Buffy Sainte-Marie - No No Keshagesh.
17. Randy Castillo - No More Tears, performed by Ozzy Osborne, with Randy Castillo, drums. 1991.
18. Randy Castillo - Tattooed Dancer, Ozzy Osborne, with Randy Castillo, drums. 1989.
19. Stevie Salas - I Once Was There, by Stevie Salas. 1995.
20. Stevie Salas - Tell Your Story Walkin’ by Stevie Salas. 1995.
21. Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Child (slight return). 1968.
22. Jimi Hendrix - Little Wing.1967.

Comments (12)

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Thanks for the track list.

Nice mix of familiar and lesser-known artists & songs in there... Gives me some research to do on some of the artists in the list, always nice to get new ideas for artists and songs!

Site Owner: Jazz Guitar and Vocals

I love Jimi Hendrix's Voodoochild.Now THAT's a classic.

Yes, I agree. I've heard of most of these artists and the tracks you specify. However, I'd not heard of Russell “Big Chief” Moore, Walela or Stevie Salas before. So, like Stan, you've prompted me to do some enjoyable homework getting to know the work of new (to me) artists.

John Murphey

When you love something you have a lot of fun doing it. Quite an interesting mix of musical artist list there.Surprised for me I could only recognise a few there, thumbs up to you.

That's a heck of a list. And definitely some I have not heard of. I always love some new recommendations for music!

Cool list. Some of these songs are new to me but I am going to give them a listen. Thanks

That's a heck of a list. And definitely some I have not heard of. I always love some new recommendations for music!

Great selection of music. I love Jimmy Hendix and the rest is reall cool too. Love the new music.

I am a guitarist myself and Johnny Cash is an inspiration. I have songs of my own on my website.

Great list. Some of them I've never heard of.
Thanks for the list, you should definitely post more list like this!

These songs are great.I am going to listen to all of them for sure .If any one wants to sing in a more professional manner then i recommend visiting How to become a famous singer.It has helped me a lot.

Thanks for the audio track list!

Native Genealogy 101

One of the most frequently asked questions at the National Museum of the American Indian—by visitors to the museum in Washington and New York, people on the internet, and people who write letters to the staff—concerns tracing individual Indian ancestry. They often begin by saying, “I am adopted,” “My family always said we were Indian,” ”My grandmother was Indian and lived at a time when she tried to hide it,” “My father died and didn’t tell us anything.”

Genealogy is a term associated with researching family ancestry, lineages, and history. There are many ways to trace Native ancestry. People use family records, historical records, genetic analysis, oral historical accounts, and other records to compile genealogical information. Family bibles; newspaper articles; county birth, death, and marriage certificates; and interviews or conversations with family members also offer valuable information.

Start with yourself and work backwards through your family—your mom and dad, your grandparents, and then your great-grandparents. If you know where your relatives were born, try to get birth or death certificates, wills, or probates (records of the settlement of estates). If family members were landowners, go to the Bureau of Land Management and type in their name and the state where they lived. 

Also check with the courthouse of their last known community of residence to see if there is a will or probate. To find out if family members belong to a federally recognized tribe, research where the tribe keeps its records and see if their family members are listed. 

Two sources I highly recommend to people doing genealogical research are the National Archives and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Other useful websites include:






Many people we meet at the museum are looking for Cherokee ancestry. If that describes your family, you might try:






I wish you every success in learning about your family’s background and history. If you have helpful genealogy information to share, please post it.

Comments (17)

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There are other sites that I have found very useful. The special treasure is Cyndi's List at www.cyndislist.com, where she endeavors to list all genealogical information on the web. Just about any aspect of genealogy is covered. It's been on the web for as long as I can remember.
The USGenWeb Project at www.usgenweb.com and the American Local History Network at www.alhn.org are both organizations that both encourage the gathering, preserving and sharing data and family information on the state and county level.

That's very interesting. I'm just wondering what about those first generation immigrants, how would they trace back overseas genealogy?


thank you so much

thank you so much nice post tercüme

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

Tracing genealogy can be exciting and sometimes depressing if you are not happy with what you find.

It's very important to know about where we came from...

thank you for this awesome post!

thank you !! FOR THE NICE & AMazing post !!

I am very thankful in your site...very useful

thanks for the information... i ve been searching for this!

I could not ask for more!great post work..keep it up,,:-)

Think of how valuable this information will be in 100, 200 or 1000 years.
That people had the foresight to gather their ancestry info together before it was lost for ever... fantastic!

nice article,, thanks for sharing it....

My family has also always said we have Cherokee blood. Some of the best information I found on my family is the record of their application to prove descent from the Eastern band of the Cherokee Indians. They wanted to share the in the fund Congress established in the early 1900s to those that could document their lineage. Their application was not approved but the information it contains has been very helpful to me.


That is very interesting

I've always been interested to find out more about my family tree. Looks like there are a lot of great resources to be able to do that. Thanks for the post!

February 21, 2011

Under Construction: NMAI's New Family Activity Center

Activity Center

When NMAI's family activity center is finished, one of the most beautiful spaces
in Washington will serve museum visitors who like to learn by doing. 

Project manager Amy Van Allen brings everyone up to date:

If you've been to the museum on the National Mall recently, you may have seen our Under Construction sign on the third floor. On December 25, NMAI's Washington Resource Center closed. And not just for the holiday—the one day of the year when the Smithsonian isn't open to the public, blizzards excepted—but for construction. We’re tearing out walls, installing new floors, painting. . . . 

But why, you ask? The building is only six years old! 

True, but we can’t make the museum any bigger. So to add a new center full of hands-on activities for visitors, we have to renovate. Part of the Resource Center library will remain, and we’re going to take full advantage of the incredible windows and unparalleled view of the U.S. Capitol to create a unique learning space.

We’re in the process now of developing the center's interactive programs. In fact, if you visited the museum during Martin Luther King Day weekend for Sharing the Dream: A Multicultural Celebration of Love & Justice, you probably helped us test the first four prototypes: the quiz show, wetlands, snowshoes, and travois. Or if you were here for the Power of Chocolate Festival over Valentine weekend, you may have tried your hand at building an igloo. Missed those events? Don’t worry. We’ll have more fun opportunities to come. If you'd like to be kept in the loop as we work on the new center, please watch this blog. Or email us at NMAI-ActivityCenter@si.edu, and we'll add your address to our virtual mailing list.

Key constituents test-build the igloo protoype during the Chocolate Festival.

But to return to what's now underway, before we closed the Resource Center's doors in December, we made sure to take care of everything properly. The handling objects were carefully packed and stored. Many departments helped to prepare the space, including collections, IT, facilities, the exhibitions fabrication shop, and the Smithsonian Institution Libraries. Resource Center staff and volunteers are working on other projects across the museum while their old space is under construction.

Amy and Renée Gokey (Eastern Shawnee/Sac and Fox) wrap handling objects.

Speaking of the library, the entire collection still exists, though it is now housed our curatorial facility in Suitland, Maryland. Children’s books and general reference works will be available in the activity center when it reopens. And the rest of the library books? Stay tuned for our next post, to learn about that move.

Photographs by Mark Christal, NMAI

Comments (4)

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February 11, 2011

Power of Chocolate Festival: Dr. Howard-Yana Shapiro on sustainable cacao

Are you interested in sustainable agriculture or the science surrounding cacao, but can't take part in the Power of Chocolate Festival at the museum in Washington this weekend? A live webcast of the presentation by Dr. Howard-Yana Shapiro, Global Staff Officer for Plant Science and External Research at Mars, Incorporated, will be available starting at 2 p.m. Saturday at http://americanindian.si.edu/webcasts/

Do you have questions you'd like to ask Dr. Shapiro about cacao, cultural preservation, and sustainable development? Please post them as comments to this blog, or email them to NMAISocialMedia@si.edu. Museum staff will ask them on your behalf at Saturday's presentation.

The video below—Dr. Shapiro speaking at the TEDxAmsterdam conference in November—gives you a preview of the kinds of things he'll be discussing. Watch the preview and share your ideas and questions on some of the key challenges of our time.

If you can be in Washington this weekend, see the museum's website for the complete schedule of this year's events, performances, workshops, food demonstrations and lectures—including Dr. Shapiro's presentation Sunday afternoon—or download a Power of Choclate brochure.



Comments (4)

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Thanks for the information.

I loved Dr. Shapiro's presentation! It was very informative. He is a good speaker, too.

Great job, y'all!

Thanks for sharing your informative and useful article!

Telling It the Right Way: Chiricahua Apache Prisoners of War

This month, I’m going to talk a little bit about a six-minute video I produced in 2007 on the Chiricahua Apache for NMAI’s Our Peoples gallery. One of the key challenges the museum has is to distill complicated histories and stories into bite-sized pieces. Telling this particular story in a manner acceptable to the tribe represented a substantial test.  

  Chiricahua Apache main title

The Chiricahua Apache, the last tribe to resist U.S. government control of the American Southwest, were held as prisoners of war at a number of locations for more than twenty-five years. The story of their incarceration was of central importance to the tribe and had to be included prominently in the small gallery exhibit. This history could have been explored in an hour-long media piece or even a series of videos, but we had space for only a wall-mounted monitor with no seating. This usually indicates that I’ll need to boil down the essential facts to a couple of minutes. The more I learned about this dramatic story the more it seemed almost impossible to accomplish well.

When curator Emil Her Many Horses and I met with the community, I expressed my anxiety about simplifying the story into a very short video. Lynette Kanseah, one of the Chiricahua elders, told me that it would be fine as long as I did it in the right way. That was followed by a long and meaningful look!

Believe me, those words and the way Lynette looked at me stayed with me as the project took shape.

Lynett green screen Lynette with back

The video was put together around a series of interviews, one in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and the rest on the Mescalero reservation in south-central New Mexico. I decided that we would shoot the interviews on green screen so that I could layer archival images from the NMAI collection behind the speakers as they told the story. The images and the words of the people together were very powerful, but I wanted to heighten the visitor’s experience of this tragic history by adding music. I turned to Laura Ortman, a White Mountain Apache, whose music has a sense of longing and heartbreak that was a perfect fit for the project. This was an unusual move for the museum at the time, as we generally had not used music in our storytelling. Laura, who performs solo as the Dust Dive Flash, allowed us to use music from her album Tens of Thousands. We owe her a debt of gratitude for her contribution to this video.

When the Chiricahua community came to Washington for the opening of the exhibition, they watched the video many times. I could see by their faces that emotional story was being told in a respectful way. Lynette saw me and slowly nodded.

Watching the video now, I see mostly the technical flaws. Still, I am happy that this difficult but important story is being told at our museum. I think I must have found the right way.


This video highlights some of the amazing photographic resources of the National Museum of the American Indian. Our long-time photo archivist, Lou Stancari recently passed away. I will always be reminded of his great contribution to this museum whenever I see the NMAI’s archival photo collection. I will miss you Lou, but your memory lives on.


Comments (16)

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thanks, wery good informaitons.

"Well written"


Thank you, nice documentary
I may include this documentary to my collection on my site. Which I'm trying to gather good documentaries.

Thank you again

A story that has to be told! To Emil Her Many Horses a big Thank You!
"...held as prisoners of war at a number of locations for more than twenty-five years." just for OUR right to be human! another way to put, "The Telling of Genocide in INDIANLAND-usa"

Thank you National Museum of the American Indian, Lynette Kanseah, one of the Chiricahua elders, Laura Ortman, a White Mountain Apache for your gift of music: Tens of Thousands. Photo Archivist, Lou Stancari, just to name a few. Things not taught in public school 'history books.' Thank You, for real His-story. I am honored to sit at your fire.

It is a really good feeling that these people were able to tell their tale the way they saw it.

It will go a long way to boost the confidence of their culture.

Often, the importance of self confidence and self esteem are overlooked. I cannot recall how many times I’ve spoken with someone who seemed to accept their own low self confidence or low self esteem. It is as if many people believe that it is physical or mental defect that cannot be helped. They fail to realize that they are in control to change it and improve their lives whenever they are ready to make the effort.

Sometimes they just need a little support. If you know someone who has low confidence, do your part. Help them realize their greatness and when their fears get in the way, give them a little extra push. The world wants to accept them.

Nice post Amazing, I found your site on Bing looking around for something completely unrelated and I really enjoyed your site. I will stop by again to read some more posts.

I've never heard the story of the chiricahua apache before, and was quite shocked about the 25 year imprisonment, awful.

As far as video production goes, I think it was a great use of green screen and enabled to see quite a lot of nice relevant images rather than just a studio!

Very interesting. thank you very much

I don't think the technical flaws of the video matter, the Chiricahua stories are powerful enough in themselves.


Thank you National Museum of the American Indian, Lynette Kanseah, one of the Chiricahua elders, Laura Ortman, a White Mountain Apache for your gift of music: Tens of Thousands. Photo Archivist, Lou Stancari, just to name a few. Things not taught in public school 'history books.' Thank You, for real His-story. I am honored to sit at your fire.

The story of the chiricahua apache was quite shocked about the 25 year imprisonment, awful.

I think the video was a great use of green screen and enabled to see quite a lot of nice relevant images rather than just a studio!

It's quite hard to find a good website. And I am very satisfied to have come here. The publications are doing great and full of good insights. I would be glad to keep on coming back here to check for a new update.

Nice blog! More people should read it. If you want, you can register your blog. It is free and and it automatically updates when you do an update, so visitors of our site can see when you updated your blog. The big advantage is that it will attract much more visitors to your blog.

The green screen approach worked really well. One of the first documentaries I ever made was an oral history of people in my hometown Gettysburg.

My dad's side of the family is from Pennsylvania, but my mother's side is from China, and I've always wanted to do one there. Problem is, I don't speak Cantonese well enough to conduct an interview. One day I'll partner up with someone who can translate.

However, this person would have to be someone I could trust as an interviewer. I don't think it would be enough to have a translator, who might miss the point of what I was getting at.

I did enjoy watching the video!