The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is pleased to announce Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne/Hodulgee Creek), founding president of the Morning Star Institute, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, and policy advocate who has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of Native peoples, will be the keynote speaker, and receive the event’s namesake award, at the seventh annual Dr. Carlos Montezuma Honorary Lecture & Awards. Fr. Peter Powell, recently retired director of the St. Augustine’s Center for American Indians for 55 years, will be honored with the Elizabeth Seabury Mitchell Award for service and philanthropy, and artist Rhonda Holy Bear (Cheyenne River Lakota) will receive the Woodrow “Woody” Crumbo Award for Native arts.

The event, which honors three individuals who have raised awareness and made significant contributions to Native American communities on a national level, will be held on Tuesday, November 2 at the Mitchell Museum’s 3009 Central Street building in Evanston. The Awards Ceremony and VIP reception begins at 5:30pm, with the lecture to follow at 6:30pm.

The event is sponsored by Northwestern University and First Bank and Trust of Evanston. The cost to attend the awards ceremony and VIP reception, and the lecture is $30. The fee to attend the lecture only is $12 for museum members/ $15 for non-members. Tribal members are free. To RSVP for the Dr. Carlos Montezuma Honorary Lecture & Awards, or for more information, contact Visitor Services at (847)475-1030/

The Dr. Carlos Montezuma Honorary Award is given for a distinguished speaker whose contributions in social activism advanced Native peoples on a national scale. Given this year to Suzan Shown Harjo, the award recognizes 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. Ms. Harjo has worked tirelessly for the enactment of key federal laws to protect tribal sovereignty, cultures, languages, religious freedom, sacred places and burial grounds. Harjo was a founding trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian and has been active in reforming national museum policies dealing with Native Americans. Her name became synonymous with the fight against the Washington football team, and other cultural stereotypes that slander Native peoples. In 2014 President Barack Obama presented Harjo with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor for her work as an “activist who has advocated for improving the lives of Native peoples throughout her career.” Her keynote lecture will highlight tribal sovereignty including the sovereignty of tribal imagery violated by sports mascots.

The Elizabeth Seabury Mitchell Award is given for exemplary service and philanthropic giving in promoting American Indian culture. Mrs. Mitchell gave generously to many native organizations throughout her life, including co-founding the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. The 2016 recipient of her namesake award is Fr. Peter Powell. Recently retired, Father Powell has served Chicago’s American Indian community for 55 years as spiritual director of St. Augustine’s Center for American Indians, which he founded in 1961. Father Powell is a well-known scholar, ethnohistorian, Anglican priest, Northern Cheyenne Chief, and award-winning author of six books concerning Cheyenne history, culture and theology. In 1982 he won the National Book Award for History and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for his two-volume work People of the Sacred Mountain: A History of the Northern Cheyenne Chiefs and Warrior Societies, 1830-1839. Father Powell is also the guest curator of the “To Honor the Plains Nations” exhibit currently on display at the Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming until December 23, 2016. Ordained to the priesthood in 1953, he has devoted his ministry to American Indians. A member of the Northern Cheyenne Chiefs Society since 1964, he is the adopted son of the late John Stands in Timber, the distinguished Northern Cheyenne tribal historian, and his wife, Josephine One Bear Stands in Timber.

The Woodrow “Woody” Crumbo Award is given in for exceptional contributions in the development and preservation of American Indian art. Woody Crumbo spent six decades of the mid-20th century creating and promoting Native American art. He participated in hundreds of exhibits, painted murals inside the US Department of Interior, and had hundreds of his pieces acquired by museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian. The 2016 recipient is Rhonda Holy Bear (Cheyenne River Lakota). Ms. Holy Bear’s intricately carved and beaded Native American figures depict life on the Plains in the nineteenth century. Her work embodies traditional Lakota worldview, and simultaneously expands the art of doll making for future generations. On October 29 the exhibit “Full Circle/Omani Wakan: Lakota Artist Rhonda Holy Bear” will open at the Field Museum of Chicago. Additionally, two of Ms. Holy Bear’s figures are featured in our “Connecting Cultures: 40 Years at the Mitchell Museum” exhibit. “My figures represent my relatives, past, present and future,” explains Holy Bear. “Without them, I could not be who I am today.” Holy Bear was the first doll maker to receive the prestigious SWAIA fellowship grant in 1985. Her work has been featured in galleries and museums around the country, and has been the subject of many magazine and newspaper articles.

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. The Chicago Tribune named the Mitchell Museum one of its top 10 museums for 2015.

For more information about The Mitchell Museum of The American Indian, visit, call 847-475-1030 or see our verified Facebook page. The museum is located in Evanston, Illinois at 3001 Central Street. It is open Tuesday-Wednesday 10am to 5pm, Thursday, 10am to 8 pm, Friday- Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday noon to 4pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, students and children and free for Mitchell Museum members and Tribal members.