Called “The Spirit of Thanksgiving,” the float is inspired by the sculpture Allies in War, Partners in Peace, by Utah-based sculptor Edward Hlavka. The nearly 20-foot bronze sculpture, on display on the museum’s fourth floor, is a depiction of the friendship between the Oneida Nation and the United States during the Revolutionary War. The piece features Polly Cooper, an Oneida Indian who helped soldiers and taught them how to prepare corn; Shenandoah, who worked and served with the colonists during the war; and George Washington—all under the symbolic tree of peace.
The Oneida Nation of New York gifted the sculpture to the museum to commemorate its opening in 2004. And, in a way, they have gifted the float as well, having lent it to the museum to use in the parade this year.
Below: "NMAI's 'Spirit of Thanksgiving' float debuted last year at the parade, sponsored by the Oneida Nation of New York." (Photo courtesy of flickr user Ben+Sam.)