From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
They came from the Plains and the South and the Arctic North—some 20,000 members of 400 Native American tribes gathered in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the Sept. 21 opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. Descendants of the New World's first inhabitants worked on nearly every aspect of the $219 million museum including the design of the building—a hunk of limestone the color of ripening wheat that appears sculpted by the wind. In other museums "our dead relatives were on display and lies were being told," says Suzan Shown Harjo, 59, a Cheyenne who helped conceive the project. "We wanted to write ourselves back into history. This is a dream come true."