Milwaukee Public Museum Honors Native American Heritage in November (2022)

Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) is celebrating the cultures, creativity and contributions of Indigenous peoples from around the state and the country with special events and programs throughout November for Native American Heritage Month (NAHM).

Potawatomi Hotel and Casino is sponsoring all NAHM activities and promotions at MPM, including free admission for Wisconsin tribal members November 1-30.

“At MPM, it’s important to us to highlight the history and cultural impact of First Nations peoples during NAHM,” said MPM President & CEO Dr. Ellen Censky. “The Museum has worked closely with Wisconsin Tribal Nations when it comes to input on exhibits, educational outreach and caring for our vast Native American collections. This month’s programming honors those relationships and gives the public an opportunity to connect more deeply with the Native American experience.”

Wednesday, November 2: MPM’s Anthropology Curator Dawn Scher Thomae is giving a free webinar,“Returning to the People.” The virtual lecture focuses on a federal law called the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and its impact on museums like MPM. Passed in 1990, NAGPRA has forever changed the way museums collect, interpret and care for Native American items. You can register at for the 6:30 p.m. lecture.

Thursday, November 3: For Kohl’s Thank You Thursday (KTYT)—the Museum’s free admission days on the first Thursday of every month thanks to generous support from Kohl’s—MPM encourages visitors to explore our permanent Native American exhibits, including: A Tribute to Survival, a scene from a contemporary Wisconsin powwow; Native Games, a look at some of the activities and sports tribes played for both entertainment and political purposes; and Southwest, an immersive re-creation of what life used to look like for Indigenous groups in the Arizona, New Mexico and southern California region.

Saturday, November 5: MPM educators, interns and community presenters will be on the Second Floor from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to talk to visitors about a variety of topics, including food, plants and moccasins, and their connections to the First Nations that call Wisconsin home.

Thursday, November 10: MPM’s guest lecture series Science on Tap returns with speaker Jason Baldes, Tribal Buffalo Program Manager at the National Wildlife Federation and Executive Director of Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative. His evening lecture, “Land Rematriation and Tribal Buffalo Restoration,” focuses on the history of bison in the U.S., their near-extermination when tribes were forced onto reservations and the current paradigm shift toward more holistic land use and keystone species restoration efforts. Tickets for the program, which includes a social hour with drinks beforehand, are available at

“Rock Your Mocs” is a worldwide social media campaign.

November 13-19: MPM will be participating in Rock Your Mocs, a worldwide social media campaign when tribal members wear their moccasins and post pictures of them with #RockYourMocs. The online “photo album” highlights both the diversity and unity among Native Americans. Throughout this week, MPM’s

Tribal Liaison James Flores will be on the Second Floor of the Museum to showcase several pairs of moccasins from the Museum’s collection that are usually kept behind the scenes. Visitors can learn about which Wisconsin tribes the moccasins belong to, their distinguishing features and what moccasins have come to represent for Native Americans. Flores will also give his moccasin presentation from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the November 3 KTYT.

While NAHM is a great opportunity to uplift Indigenous voices and customs each November, MPMencourages community members to champion Native American heritage year-round. They can do this by exploring the Museum’s permanent Native American exhibits, as well as by supporting treaty rights and tribal government, joining powwow celebrations, and purchasing crafts made by Native American artists.

Find out more at

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