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National Museum of the American Indian Grand Opening

Established in 1989, through an Act of Congress, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian opened its doors to the public on September 21, 2004. As part of the grand opening, a spectacular six-day First Americans Festival was held on the National Mall. The flags, feathers, and bright native clothing made for a multicolored display, and the air was filled with the smell of burned sage and the sounds of drums, bells and music.

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Gallery: Museum of the American Indian Tour

In keeping with Native American traditions, the National Museum of the American Indian faces east toward the rising sun and the U.S. Capitol building. Click on the photo to take a virtual tour that highlights some of the 8,000 objects from museum's...

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Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado), ra Northern Cheyenne Indian poses in front of the National Monument.

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A member of the Aztec Nation displays a beautiful feathered head dress

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Puberty dance

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103,000 U.S. citizens are estimated to be American Indian and Alaska native alone or American Indian and Alaska native in combination with one or more other races who were added to the nation’s population between Census Day, April 1, 2000, and July 1, 2002. This population increased at a rate of 2.4 percent over the period, roughly the same rate of increase as the overall population.

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Delana Smith, Miss Indian World is Ojibwe from the Red Lake Nation, Red Lake, Minnesota. *

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Miss Indian Nations XII smiles for the camera.

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Anne Lewis Hansen, Wanda Lim Amy, and Diana Lim Garry, are in this picture. They are dressed in the traditional regalia of the Pueblo of Acoma people from New Mexico. Anne Lewis Hansen is the daughter of the late Lucy M. Lewis who is a famous potter from the Pueblo of Acoma. Lucy's pot is currently on the new U.S. Postal Service stamps commemorating the opening of the new museum.
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A cute young Native American girl. *

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Several tribal men in feathered headdress perform on colorful drums.

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Senator Daniel K. Inouye (left), NAMI Director W. Richard West (center), and Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (right). *

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Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (left) and Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small (right)

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Senator Daniel K. Inouye (left) and Director of the National Museum of the American Indian W. Richard West (right).

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Director of the National Museum of the American Indian W. Richard West (left) and Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small (right).

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