Field Museum commemorates Native American Heritage Month

FNFVF Field Museum
Spread the love

This November, the Field Museum commemorates Native American Heritage Month with a robust schedule of programming including music, storytelling, dance, art, films, and pop-up presentations in Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories. Guests can join the museum in celebrating the diversity of values, traditions, and languages that make up the rich cultures of Native American communities this month and all year long. 


Two of the four “Free days in November” are still available. Read on to learn more about the event in which Field partnered with First Nations Film and Video Festival.

November 1, 1:15-1:45pm; Opening Ceremony in Stanley Field Hall

Free Admission Day

-Dave Spencer (Mississippi Chata/Diné) kicks off Native American Heritage Month with a blessing ceremony and a traditional song.

-Chicago-based hand drum group Oka Homma Singers perform songs.


November 2, 2-4:30pm; Film and Video Fest in Montgomery Ward Hall 

Free Admission Day

The Field partners with the First Nations Film and Video Festival to showcase several short films that break racial stereotypes and promote awareness of Native American issues. All films screened are directed by Indigenous filmmakers.

FNFVF Music Box

November 9, 10-11am; Story Time in Pawnee Earth Lodge 

Free Admission Day

In partnership with Chicago Public Library, the Field presents a hybrid in-person and live virtual story time event. Librarian Daylily Alverez will read Powwow Day by Traci Sorell and Berry Song by Michaela Goade, as well as lead the children in songs. 

November 12, 11am-1:30pm; Native American Month Celebration in Stanley Field Hall

Visitors can join the celebration featuring Native American cultural performances, story tellers, and a Q&A. Highlights include:

-Oneida Dance Group performs Smoke Dance demonstrations in Stanley Field Hall.  

-Artist Norma Robertson (Dakota) demonstrates beading techniques in Grainger Science Hub. 

-Pop up presentations throughout the exhibition Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories.

-Special menu by Chef Jessica Pamonicutt (Menominee) is offered in the Bistro restaurant.

Full in-person and virtual programming calendar can be found at Native American Heritage Month | Field Museum

My colleague Jeff and I had the opportunity of attending on November 2, 2-4:30pm; Film and Video Fest in Montgomery Ward Hall. The films presented here were short but each packed a lot of information and feeling into a short time frame. Several of the films were from Canada and South America. I found each of them, covering many themes from trying to capture the life of native people by interviewing older women to a documentary, compelling, valuable, and moving. There was so much to learn from and enjoy, I wish that more people had attended this.

As the films ended, there was a reception to allow for discussion and questions. Talking with Ernest M. Whiteman III, FNFVF Director, we learned that he is also a filmmaker who studied in Chicago and lives in the area. It was very interesting to learn that Canada has a Film Board that has a reliable funding source for Indigenous filmmakers. In the U. S. Native Americans do not receive such funding.

The Field Museum acknowledges that it was built on the traditional homelands of the Bodéwadmik (Potawatomi), Hoocąk (Winnebago/Ho’Chunk), Jiwere (Otoe), Nutachi (Missouria), and Baxoje (Iowas); Kiash Matchitiwuk (Menominee); Meshkwahkîha (Meskwaki); Asâkîwaki (Sauk); Myaamiaki (Miami), Waayaahtanwaki (Wea), and Peeyankihšiaki (Piankashaw); Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo); Inoka (Illini Confederacy); Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), and Odawak (Odawa). The Museum recognizes that the region we now call Chicago was the traditional homelands of many Indigenous nations, and remains home to diverse Native people today. The land we walk was and remains Native land.


Films included:


Our way (5:30)
Two young Innu women take up the old roads of the past to revive the identity of their Nation; a tribute to the Elders, the territory and the Innu people.
Directed by Laura Fontaine, Yasmine Fontaine (Innu from Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam.)

Nukum Mary (My grandmother Mary)-(6:31)
A Naskapi grandmother passes on to her Innu granddaughter her experience, knowledge and culture as well as the patience and meticulousness that have characterized the first peoples of Canada for thousands of years.
Directed by Normand Junior (Innu from Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam.)

Aniskenamakewin (10:30)
Shot over three years during the Matakan Project’s cultural transmission camps in the Atikamekw community of Manawan, this documentary attempts to demonstrate the urgency of taking action to ensure the preservation of Atikamekw heritage and culture.
Directed by Marie-Christine Petiquay (Atikamekw from Manawan)

The River and Us (7:17)
Myriam explores the importance of the W8linaktegw River (Bécancour River) to her family and her nation through her memories and the stories of her father. The film also bears witness to this river which has been transformed over the generations.
Directed by Myriam Landry (Nation Abénaquis, Community Wôlinak)

I Youtuber (19:00)
Fael is a 9-year-old boy who dreams of being a video game youtuber, but he doesn’t have the main thing: a video game.
Directed by Rodrigo Sena (Potiguara Brasil)

Happy Birthday… i guess (5:00)
A girl whose birthday is today. Her parents don’t care so she is upset and decides to have a party for herself. Her sadness may get the better of her, but for now she just wants one last birthday party even if she’s by herself.
Directed by Bailey Lowe-Summers (Oneida Nations of the Thames)

The Kaingang Story by Themselves (22:10)
The oral tradition of kófas Kaingangs, that tell some historical facts of the Indigenous Land of the Guarita, that is in the border between Brazil and Argentina.

WE, THE BEASTS (13:46)
In the 1980s, Bolivia is recovering from the military dictatorships that took over the country. Franco, a little boy, starts a friendship with the strange man his mother keeps locked up in their basement. Thinking that he is his father, he tries to free him, finding out truths that he cannot understand.

YouTuber poster

Can Archaeology Repair its Past with Indigenous America? (14:39)
Archaeology has had a long, strained history with Indigenous America. A review of past controversies and egregious conflicts with Native people and Tribal Nations in America begins with a chronological telling of the federal statutes that progressively went from protecting sites and places of heritage and research for archaeologists, to statutes that protect the interests of Native America. The story tells how statutes and training a new generation of archaeologists have been used to repair and restore damage done over the centuries. The narrative follows the excavation of the oldest site for European settlement in North America along side a Native American village. Archaeologists consult with these Native Nations that today are the descendants that can be associated with this 450 year old site. Archaeological methods are followed within a set of legal guidelines for points along the process that demonstrate how respect and consideration for the Native American community is adopted as part of the training, understanding and processes of the new generation of archaeologists and anthropologists.

Directed by Victoria Sutton (Lumbee Indian Tribe)

Photos Courtesy of Ernest M. Whiteman III and


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.