The display was the climax of a symposium called “Harvest of Hope,” about the role of national apologies to indigenous peoples. In 2008, both Canada and Australia issued sweeping apologies for boarding schools and other assimilation practices historically imposed on indigenous peoples.
The U.S. Senate also passed legislation to make a national apology to Native Americans last spring, though the Reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act that contained the apology failed to pass the House.
The light rose from the top of the museum’s rotunda, located 400 yards from the U.S. Capitol, and shined for three nights between dusk and 10 p.m.
The illumination was timed to coincide with a city-wide celebration of photography, called FotoWeek DC. The museum kicked off Washington’s FotoWeek with a multi-story projection of photographs on its eastern exterior wall. Notably, the faces of Indian delegations that traveled to D.C. to meet with federal officials over the last two centuries were visible.
P.S. Notice how none of the Otoe Indians were named after eagles, hawks, wolves, or bears? Real Indians rarely have clichéd Indian names.