SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY STATEMENT ON THE OPENING OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN
Thousands of Native Americans are in Washington this week to celebrate the long awaited opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. The many years of planning and construction have produced an extraordinary new architectural masterpiece for the nation's capital that will inspire and inform millions of our fellow citizens in all 50 states about this important aspect of our nation's heritage and history. Thousands of years of Native American history and culture will now become far more accessible to all Americans for generations to come.
It's gratifying to know that tribes from Massachusetts have contributed to the opening of the museum and to its beauty. The Mashpee Wampanoag will be participating in the opening ceremony procession dressed in traditional clothing. They will also participate in several performances and exhibitions on the mall.
In addition, the shelves of the two gift shops in the museum are inlaid in some places with purple and white tiles crafted from quahog shells by the Wampanoag Tribe of Gayhead, Aquinnah.
We in Massachusetts are proud to be part of the great history of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gayhead, Aquinnah, the Nipmuc Nation, and the Webster/Dudley Band of Chaubunagungamaug Nipmuck Indians, and I join them in welcoming this magnificent new resource for our nation.