Native American Heritage Month
San Antonio museum celebrates Native American Heritage Month with free, family-friendly event
November is Native American Heritage Month, and the Briscoe Western Art Museum is inviting San Antonio families to celebrate at its free annual Yanaguana Indian Arts Festival. Taking place on Saturday, November 19, from 10 am to 5 pm, the colorful event highlights the vibrant, artistic traditions of Native American communities and celebrates the impact Native Americans had in shaping the West.
Named in honor of the Payaya people who were indigenous to the San Antonio area, “Yanaguana” was the word used to describe what is now known as the San Antonio River. The Briscoe has hosted the annual festival since the museum first opened in the beautifully restored 1930s San Antonio Public Library in 2013.
Featuring storytelling, artist demonstrations, pottery and carving, the free event includes admission to the museum, which strives to preserve and present the art, history, and culture of the American West in each of its exhibitions and educational programs. This year's event will feature two drum circles with Pow Wow-style dancing, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
United San Antonio Pow Wow, Inc., will start the event with a special spiritual blessing, joined by Enemy Horse Drumming for a Pow Wow-style drum circle to kick off the day. Inviting event attendees to join, the drum circle will explain common pow wow dance styles and the afternoon installment will feature the Great Promise Dancers.
Native American-inspired cuisine will help fuel the day's activities, including items from REZR’vation Only, a food truck owned and operated by a registered member of the Navajo Nation. In addition to the drum circles, the event will feature workshops and lectures celebrating traditional and contemporary Native American culture, with highlights including:
- Live music by Native American artists, including flute player Tim Blueflint Ramel. An enrolled member of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa, a federally recognized American Indian Tribe, Blueflint has opened for and shared the stage with Grammy Award Winner Mary Youngblood and a wide variety of artists.
- Stories from Amy Bluemel, Chickasaw storyteller and great-granddaughter of Eastman Kaney, an original Dawes Commission enrollee. Through elaborate storytelling, Bluemel shares the customs of Chickasaw and other southeastern tribes.
- Ledger art with artist George Curtis Levi, showcasing how ledger art captures a moment in time. Originating amongst the Cheyenne in the late 1840s, ledger art utilized pages of repurposed record books to depict everyday life. A member of the Southern Cheyenne tribe in Oklahoma, Levi also has ties to the Arapaho and Oglala Lakota communities.
- Pottery making with artist Jereldine Redcorn showcasing Caddo pottery, an art form she single-handedly revived. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Redcorn’s father was Caddo and her mother was Potawatomi. In 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama selected one of her pieces to decorate the Oval Office.
- Kachina carving with Kevin Horace Quannie, a Hopi/Navajo contemporary artist. Living on the Hopi reservation, Quannie specializes in carving contemporary kachina dolls using cottonwood roots.
- Crafts and demonstrations include making your own drum, creating a community weaving basket, paper bead necklaces, pottery making, loom weaving, wood carving, and leather stamping.