The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is pleased to announce Richard West Jr. (Southern Cheyenne), the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Autry National Center of the American West, and Founding Director and Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, will be the keynote speaker at the fifth annual Dr. Carlos Montezuma Honorary Lecture. The lecture will take place at 6:00pm on Wednesday, November 12 at the Mitchell Museum in Evanston. A reception will follow.

West’s presentation, “Museums and Native America in the 21st Century: Journeys in Interpretation” focuses on how representation and interpretation of Native peoples and communities in museums has experienced great change within the past generation. Through the lens of both the National Museum of the American Indian and the Autry National Center of the American West, he will suggest and trace the evolution of those changes and their implications more broadly for museums that address the cultural history and experience.

“Museums of the 21st century that interpret the cultural life and history, past and present, of Native peoples and communities, are at a seminal and transformational crossroads,” said West. “The voices of Native peoples themselves have become authoritative and integral components of the conversation, and now the challenge is to interweave these complex threads into the full and interconnected tapestry of the American cultural experience.”

West has devoted his professional life and much of his personal life to working with the national and international museum communities and with American Indians on cultural, educational, legal and government issues. He has served on numerous museum association boards including Board Chair of the American Association of Museums from 1998 to 2000. Prior to his museum endeavors, West protected native rights as legal counsel for numerous tribes and Native organizations.

He has a master’s degree in American History from Harvard University and a law degree from Stanford University School of Law. He is also the son of American Indian Master artist, the late Walter Richard West, Sr.

The Dr. Carlos Montezuma Honorary Lecture series remembers the work of Dr. Montezuma, a Chicago physician and Native American activist who was one of the founding members of the Society of American Indians and ardent advocate for the voting rights for Native peoples. The lecture honors members of the American Indian Community who have raised awareness and contributed to the community in the same spirit as Dr. Montezuma.

The lecture is funded in part by the Menominee Community Center of Chicago. The fee is $10 for museum members/ $15 for non-members. Tribal citizens are free. To RSVP for the Dr. Carlos Montezuma Honorary Lecture, or for more information, contact Visitor Services at (847)475-1030/

The Mitchell Museum is one of only a handful of museums in the country that focuses exclusively on the art, history and culture of American Indian and First Nation peoples throughout the United States and Canada. In 2012, The Mitchell Museum was named “Best Museum of The North Shore: Up and Comer” by Make it Better magazine, won the Superior award by the Illinois Association of Museums and was named a national finalist by the American Association of State and Local History award program.

For more information about The Mitchell Museum of The American Indian, visit or call 847-475-1030. The museum is open Tuesday-Wednesday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday- Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, students and children and Free for Mitchell Museum members and Tribal members.