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Jordan Smith dresses in traditional Mohawk clothing at the Museum as part of Indigenous Peoples Weekend in 2022.

Weekend Celebration Will Include Performances by Indigenous Dancers, Hands-on Demonstrations, Crafts, and More

Celebrate Native American history and culture during the Museum of the American Revolution’s annual Indigenous Peoples Weekend celebration from Saturday, Oct. 7 – Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. The weekend will include traditional Native American dance performances and storytelling, hands-on demonstrations, and other special activities for all ages.

Throughout the weekend, the Museum will be joined by members of the Delaware Tribe of Indians, who will perform traditional Lenape social dances on the Museum’s outdoor plaza and present culturally significant stories inside the Museum. Dance performances will take place daily at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Storytelling will take place daily at 1:30 p.m. and is included with regular Museum admission.

Be sure to visit the Museum’s special exhibit, Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, to enjoy pop-up talks about Native American and Black troops who inspired free Black Philadelphian James Forten as they marched past Independence Hall in 1781. Forten later served as a privateer during the Revolutionary War and became a successful businessowner, philanthropist, and abolitionist.

Oneida Gallery Small

Indigenous Peoples Weekend highlights:

  • Lenape Social Dances | Daily at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
    Join us on the Museum’s outdoor plaza for lively performances of traditional Lenape social dances presented by members of the Delaware Tribe of Indians. Daily performances are free and open to the public.
  • Lenape Storytelling | Daily at 1:30 p.m.
    Join a member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians in Revolution Place to hear daily presentations of traditional Lenape tales.
  • Meet the Revolution: Kehala and Jordan Smith | Daily from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m
    As part of our Meet the Revolution series, meet living history interpreters Kehala Smith (Tuscarora Nation, Turtle Clan) and Jordan Smith (Mohawk, Bear Clan), who will share stories about their culture, costuming, and traditions and engage guests in conversation about the past, present, and future of their people. They also will demonstrate and display culturally meaningful objects and materials, including woven baskets, slippery elm bark, and wampum belts.
  • Oneida Beadwork | Daily from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    Mary Homer and her daughter (both Oneida, Wolf Clan) will be onsite to display and sell their traditional Iroquois beadwork, including clothing, jewelry, purses, and more. They will also be demonstrating stitching traditional Iroquois beadwork at their table.
  • Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia | Daily from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    In Black Founders, join a Museum educator at the “Brave Men as Ever Fought” painting by artist Don Troiani to learn more about the Black and Native American troops of the Rhode Island Regiment marching past the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) en route to Yorktown on Sept. 2, 1781, a scene that was witnessed by James Forten on his 15th birthday. Black Founders is on view through Nov. 26, 2023, and is included with regular Museum admission.
  • Revolution Place: Wampum Belt Craft | Daily from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    Wampum beads — purple and white beads made from seashells or (later) glass — were woven into patterns on belts to commemorate agreements between different communities of Native Americans and Europeans. Native American nations, such as the Oneida Nation, would design these belts to document what they discussed with others. Join a Museum educator in the Museum's family-friendly discovery center, Revolution Place, on the lower level to color your own wampum belt with your own symbols and messages. You can also make your own wampum belt at home online, any time.
  • Discovery Cart: Two Kettles Together | Daily from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
    Join a Museum educator at a discovery cart featuring replica artifacts and documents to learn about Tyonajanegen (Two Kettles Together), an Oneida woman who participated in the violent Battle of Oriskany during the Saratoga Campaign.
  • Pop-Up Talks: Akiatonharónkwen (Louis Cook) | Daily from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    Learn about Akiatonharonkwen, also known as Louis Cook, who was one of the highest-ranking Native American officers in the Continental forces during the Revolutionary War. Born to an African American father and Abenaki Indian mother, Akiatonharonkwen fought in the French and Indian War (1754-1763) as a young man. Discover the path he chose in the Revolutionary War as British and Revolutionary leaders courted him as an ally.
  • Oneida Nation Gallery | Daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    In the Museum’s core exhibition, visitors can explore an immersive multimedia gallery that recreates the Oneida Indian Nation’s debate over whether to break away from the Six Nations Confederacy to support the Revolutionary cause. Listen as recreated figures representing Oneida men and women discuss the difficult choices they faced.
  • Film Screening: The People of the Standing Stone | Daily at 3:30 p.m.
    The People of the Standing Stone
    explores the crucial but little-known history of the extraordinary contributions of one Native American people who chose to commit themselves to the Revolutionary cause when nearly all others fought on the side of the British during America’s War for Independence. The moving 25-minute film was directed by Emmy Award-winning director Ric Burns and narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Costner.
  • The People Between: Native Americans in a Revolutionary Era Gallery Guide | Onsite Daily and Online, Any Time
    More than 250,000 Native Americans lived east of the Mississippi River during the Revolutionary era. They formed more than 80 nations and spoke dozens of languages. The decades of political turmoil and warfare that divided Great Britain and its colonies and led to the creation of the United States profoundly affected native people. This printed gallery guide can be used to explore their stories throughout the Museum and with the Museum’s Virtual Tour.

The Delaware Tribe of Indians dance performances are free and open to the public. All other Indigenous Peoples Weekend activities are included with regular Museum admission. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Our current special exhibition, Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, is open daily from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and included with regular Museum admission. Tickets to the Museum can be purchased by calling 215.253.6731, at AmRevMuseum.org, or at the front desk. Save $3 per adult ticket by purchasing online. All tickets are valid for two consecutive days.

Indigenous Peoples Weekend at the Museum is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution uncovers and shares compelling stories about the diverse people and complex events that sparked America’s ongoing experiment in liberty, equality, and self-government. Through the Museum’s unmatched collection, immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive elements, visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in ensuring that the promise of the American Revolution endures. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.