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Festival Fun

Welcome! A young visitor to the Autry Museum learns about American Indian life. COURTESY AUTRY MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN WEST

Ella Rose Bednorz, 8, knows where she will be on November 11 and 12. She will be at the Autry Museum of the American West. It is in Los Angeles, California. Every year, the museum holds the American Indian Arts Marketplace. It is an arts fair. It is the largest of its kind in Southern California.

About 200 Native American artists sell their work at the fair. Ella Rose’s grandmother is one of them. Her name is Peggy Fontenot. She makes beaded jewelry. She is also a photographer. Other artists sell paintings and sculpture. Some sell baskets and other arts and crafts.

Show and Tell

“The Marketplace helps people learn about our heritage heritage GETTY IMAGES a tradition or practice that is handed down from the past (noun) Allie connects to her family's heritage by cooking with her dad. and tribes tribe JOE AMON—THE DENVER POST/GETTY IMAGES a group of people that share the same language or beliefs (noun) The Navajo tribe is the largest American Indian group in the United States. ,” Ella Rose told TFK. “It helps people learn about our ceremonies and dances.” Kids can take part in craft activities. There are dance and music performances.

Artists at the fair belong to more than 40 tribes. Ella Rose’s family is from the Patawomeck, Potawatomi, and Cherokee tribes.

Jewelry is one of the many crafts sold at the Autry arts fair.


Meaningful Art

The Marketplace is one of the Autry’s most popular events. “In order to tell the story of America and what it means to be American, we must include the Native American story,” says Robyn Hetrick. She works at the Autry. “What better way to tell a story than through art?” she asks.

Hetrick says people should look for arts festivals and museums near their homes. They are great ways to “learn more about the rich history and cultures surrounding us all,” she says.

Holiday History

November is Native American Heritage Month. In the early 1900s, Arthur C. Parker worked to create a day to honor Native Americans. He was a Seneca Indian.

The Boy Scouts of America liked Parker’s idea. They held a “first Americans” day for three years.

In 1916, New York became the first state to have an American Indian Day. Other states followed.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush set aside November as National American Indian Heritage Month. How will you celebrate it?