Informative Museum, The Briscoe in Downtown San Antonio, Celebrates Native American Heritage Month with Yanaguana Indian Arts Festival
The Briscoe Western Art Museum, an informative museum, is celebrating Native American Heritage Month. The Yanaguana Indian Arts Festival, a free day of family-friendly fun, music, art, crafts and food in honor of the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories of Native American influence on the American West.
Date & Time
Showcasing Native American heritage and its influence on the American West, the Briscoe Western Art Museum invites everyone to enjoy its free annual Yanaguana Indian Arts Festival, Saturday, November 19, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Highlighting the continued vibrancy and artistic traditions of Native American communities, the event is free and includes admission to the Briscoe. The festival is a perfect way to mark Native American Heritage Month and celebrates the important role Native Americans played in shaping the West.
The free community festival features storytelling, artist demonstrations, pottery and carving, as well as Native American-inspired food, including REZR’vation Only, a food truck featuring Native American-inspired cuisine that is owned and operated by a registered member of the Navajo Nation. Yanaguana Indian Arts Festival also features workshops and lectures celebrating traditional and contemporary Native American culture. The event starts with a special blessing, followed by a ceremonial drum circle that invites everyone to join.
The annual event is named in honor of the Payaya people who were indigenous to the San Antonio area. “Yanaguana” was the word they used to describe what is now known as the San Antonio River. The festival has been held annually since the museum opened.
Yanaguana Indian Arts Festival highlights include:
- An opening spiritual blessing United San Antonio Pow Wow, Inc.
- A Pow Wow-style drum circle kicks off the day, with United San Antonio Pow Wow, Inc. and Enemy Horse Drumming demonstrating and explaining common pow wow dance styles. Another Pow Wow-style drum circle features the Great Promise Dancers in the afternoon, also demonstrating and explaining common pow wow dance styles.
- 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, a Chickasaw storyteller and the great-granddaughter of Eastman Kaney, an original Dawes Commission enrollee. Bluemel shares Chickasaw customs, and those of other southeastern tribes, through elaborate storytelling.
- Ledger art with artist George Curtis Levi, showcasing how ledger art captures a moment in time. A type of art that originated 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.
Festival visitors also enjoy free admission to the Briscoe, including exhibitions highlighting the stories of the American Indian, cowboys, pioneering women and others that define the West. The museum’s fall exhibition highlights the wildlife and landscape of the West, featuring 40 of the renowned nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen’s most resonant photographs. Thomas D. Mangelsen – A Life In The Wild takes viewers on a journey across the West and around the globe. One of the most prolific nature photographers of our time, Mangelsen is an award-winning photographer whose images have been exhibited internationally and published in iconic mediums such as “National Geographic”, “Good Morning America”, and “60 Minutes”. The exhibition is open to the public through Jan. 29, 2023.
Celebrate All Things West All Year Long
From its McNutt Sculpture Garden to the museum’s beautifully restored historic home inside the former San Antonio Public Library building, the Briscoe’s collection spans 14 galleries, with special exhibitions, events and a fantastic Museum Store, providing art, culture, history and entertainment. Museum hours, parking and admission details are available online.