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Gallery: The National Museum Of The American Indian

Airs Friday, August 3, 2012 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Exterior photo of the National Museum of the American Indian, located at Four...

Credit: Courtesy of Biggins

Above: Exterior photo of the National Museum of the American Indian, located at Fourth Street & Independence Ave., S.W. Washington, D.C. 20560.

"Gallery: The National Museum Of The American Indian" charts the unveiling and dedication of the first Smithsonian museum dedicated exclusively to American Indians. The grand unveiling of the National Museum of the American Indian coincided with the six-day, outdoor First American Festival and the Native Nations Festival.

The colorful opening day began with a Native Nations Procession, the largest gathering of Native peoples in modern history.

More than 25,000 American Indians, representing more than 500 tribes and Native communities - from as far north as Alaska to as far south as Chile - participated in this historic event.

During the program, the museum's architects discuss the conception and design of the striking building, and landscaping, which was created to resemble a land form shaped by rain, water and nature.

Throughout the documentary, American Indians share their thoughts on the importance of the museum, their heritage and passing along traditions to the next generation.

Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian is on Facebook, and you can follow @SmithsonianNMAI on Twitter. View museum photos on Flickr, and explore their blog.

Exhibit: Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian

In the 1960s and '70s, the notion of American Indian art was turned on its head by artists who fought against prejudice and popular clichés. At the forefront of this revolution was Fritz Scholder (Luiseño, 1937-2005). This video introduction to the eponymous exhibition "Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian" was awarded the 2009 Gold Muse award by AAM for best video production of the year.

David Boxley Totem Pole at the National Museum of the American Indian

David Boxley, a Tsimshian carver from Alaska, created a totem pole for the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Boxley, who grew up in Metlakatla, and his son finished the work in the museum's Potomac atrium, where the Tsimshian dance group Git--Hoan (People of the Salmon) celebrated the unveiling. "There's few of us," Boxley told the Washington Post. "But we're alive and well. We wanted to let people know we're alive and well." The totem features a chief holding salmon, a group of villagers, and an eagle—the symbol of Boxleys' clan.

Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America

"Ramp it Up" celebrates the vibrancy, creativity, and controversy of American Indian skate culture. Skateboarding combines demanding physical exertion with design, graphic art, filmmaking, and music to produce a unique and dynamic culture. The exhibition features rare and archival photographs and film of Native skaters as well as skatedecks from Native companies and contemporary artists. "Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America" is currently on view at the San Diego Museum of Man through September 9, 2012.

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