100 Years and Counting

100 Years and Counting: The Vision and the Dream

NMAI has also become a crucible for the discussion of contemporary issues of critical significance to Indian country and the shaping of Federal policy. Symposia dialogues involving experts on these issues have served as an important source not only in the thoughtful shaping of public policy but in the dispelling of stereotypes and their symbolic representations. And the NMAI has consistently invited members of Congress and Federal policy-makers to become constructively engaged with tribal citizens representing a broad spectrum of Native perspectives.

The National Museum of the American Indian is fulfilling its responsibilities for the maintenance and care of a magnificent and vast collection, while simultaneously creating an international awareness, knowledge and a new understanding of Native people, their cultures, languages, histories and contemporary lifeways.

Like all living beings, NMAI continues to grow and to adapt to changing circumstances. The National Museum of the American Indian is a vision and a dream in the process of being realized.

Patricia Zell served as the chief counsel and staff director of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs for 25 years. In that capacity she was involved in the negotiations with the city and state of New York enabling the transition between the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution, and the development of the legislation authorizing the establishment of the National Museum of the American Indian. She served on the NMAI Board of Trustees for two terms and completed her last year of service on the Board as its Vice-Chair.