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News Release

United States Senate Committee on Senate Affairs

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), vice chairman of the Committee, released the following statements on the upcoming tenure of Cynthia Chavez Lamar as director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), effective February 14.

“Congratulations to Dr. Cynthia Chavez Lamar on her new directorship of the National Museum of the American Indian,” said Chairman Schatz. “Dr. Chavez Lamar’s experience, leadership, and historic status as the first Native woman named to head a Smithsonian museum make her a great fit for this important role. I look forward to working together on our shared commitments to Native Americans.”

“I applaud the selection of Cynthia Chavez Lamar to be the next Director of the National Museum of the American Indian, and for being the first Native woman to hold the position. The National Museum of the American Indian plays a vital role in educating and sharing the knowledge and culture of many Indigenous peoples from across the country for all. It is through dedicated leadership that National Museum of the American Indian can continue its mission. Dr. Chavez Lamar provides years of experience and practice as a curator, scholar, and leader of museum collections and boards which will contribute to her success overseeing National Museum of the American Indians collections and facilities,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski.

An enrolled member at San Felipe Pueblo, Chavez Lamar has long served as a Native American art and museums expert and leader, including most recently as acting associate director for collections and operations at National Museum of the American Indian. As National Museum of the American Indian director, Chavez Lamar will oversee the museum’s three facilities: the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the museum’s George Gustav Heye Center in Lower Manhattan, and the Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Maryland. More information on Chavez Lamar’s career and new role can be found here.

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Cynthia Chavez Lamar named director of the National Museum of the American Indian