Preview of a big week in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. ? Indian country will descend on the nation's capitol next week as several major events are planned.

A forum on the protection of sacred sites will be hosted by the National Congress of American Indians at the Department of the Interior on March 20. The panel discussion is expected to feature an announcement by Neal McCaleb on a BIA initiative to protect sacred sites.

The National Museum of the American Indian of the Smithsonian Institute will be celebrating the Spring Equinox with aboriginal cultures from throughout the hemisphere also on March 20. Highlights of the celebration include traditional signing and dancing from Seneca, Hopi, Hawaiian Native and Ecuadorian Indian artists. The celebration is the first in a series of events leading to the opening of the American Indian museum in 2004.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will also be holding public hearings on March 21 on the proposed Western Shoshone land settlement. The hearings will be held at the Russell Office Building on Constitution Ave. ICT will be providing coverage of the Senate hearings, and the other major events next week, despite the exclusion of tribally owned publications from the Senate press galleries.