The independent, nonprofit Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston will honor its founders and celebrate three and a half decades of education and preservation at its 35th Anniversary Benefit Gala to be held 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, 2012, at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, 1330 Ridge Ave., Evanston. 

The event will include a seated dinner, Native American-themed entertainment, and a raffle and silent auction. 

Chairing the benefit planning committee is Susan Salisbury of Evanston. Also on the committee are Evanston residents Will Linder, Glennis Lundberg, Trimmy Stamell, and Cheryl Wollin; Ivan Berk of Wilmette; Barbara Novick of Morton Grove; and Emily Jones of Chicago. 

Tickets are $120 per person. Tables of eight can be purchased for $800 per table. 

Business sponsors include Evanston First Bank and Trust, Northwestern University, and North Shore Retirement Hotel. 

The museum was founded after John and Betty Mitchell donated their personal collection of 3,000 Native American artifacts to Evanston’s Kendall College in 1977. Long affiliated with the college, the Mitchell Museum became an independent non-profit institution in 2006. Since the initial donation of artifacts, the museum’s collection has grown to approximately 10,000 pieces. 

The museum hosts an estimated 9,500 guests each year, including more than 4,500 people in group tours. 

The Mitchell Museum is one of only a handful of museums in the nation that focuses exclusively on the art, history and culture of American Indian and First Nation peoples from throughout the United States and Canada.