Join the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) on the occasion of the inauguration of the President of the United States. The evening will celebrate and honor Native American Veterans. Situated only blocks from the United States Capitol Building, the museum is the perfect location to mark this historic event and to highlight the self-determination of Native Nations. The Inaugural Ball will feature music, dancing, and Native cuisine.

Funds raised will support the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian National Native American Veterans Memorial Project. In December 2013, the U.S. Congress authorized the establishment of the Native American Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the NMAI. The legislation charges the NMAI with creating a memorial that would give “all Americans the opportunity to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of service of Native Americans in the Armed Forces of the United States.” The National Native American Veterans Memorial will be located prominently on the NMAI’s grounds in Washington, D.C., situated on the National Mall between the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and the U.S. Capitol.

The Native Nations Inaugural Ball serves to launch the campaign to build the memorial and all funds raised from the event will be dedicated to its fullfillment.

For more information about the Inaugural Ball, please contact us at


Date: Friday, January 20, 2017 | 7 PM

Location: National Museum of the American Indian, Fourth Street & Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.

Format: Buffet dinner and dancing

Attire: Black tie, traditional dress or military dress

Honorary Co Chairs: The Honorable Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) | The Honorable Brian Schatz (D-HI)

Entertainment: The evening’s entertainment will feature performances by:

Gabriel Ayala

A member of the Yaqui people of Southern Arizona, guitarist Gabriel Ayala is an accomplished classical musician. He is positioned at the forefront of a new generation of Native American musicians, breaking all native and non-native stereotypes with his trailblazing assortment of music genres and accolades. Gabriel earned a Master's Degree in Music Performance from the University of Arizona in 1997, has taught at all educational levels from elementary through college, and serves as a competition adjudicator. Although he truly enjoys being a teacher, his busy touring schedule allows him to only teach in Master Class settings. Gabriel performs regularly throughout the United States and internationally. Locally, he has appeared at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Museum of the American Indian, Musical Instrument Museum and the Oscar Meyer Theater in Madison, Wisconsin. Recently, he was a featured artist at President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Ball. He has been recognized by the former State of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, now Director of Homeland Security, for his musical achievements. In addition, he has also been highly honored with the University of Arizona’s Tanner Award that recognizes significant professional career success and contributions and leadership benefiting American Indian communities. Not only is Gabriel recognized locally and in the United States but he has also had the opportunity to play for Pope Benedict XVI at the canonization of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha in Rome, Italy. He was also the featured performer at the "Festival Internacional de la Guitarra Academica" in Venezuela with performances in Caracas, Guarenas, Guatire and on National Public Television throughout Venezuela. Gabriel has been featured in several media publications such as "Native Peoples", "Indian Country Today", "SAY Magazine" (Canadian and United States Editions), "Spirit of the Southwest" (German Publication), "Native America Calling", "Canadian Broadcasting Corporation" and numerous others. Gabriel has received numerous music awards from national and international awards programs that include Native American Music Awards "Best Instrumental CD", "Best World Music", and "Artist of the Year", the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards "Best International Album", and Aboriginal People's Choice Awards "Best Instrumental." Gabriel received many accolades in his career among them is the honor of sharing the stage with Motown living legends The Four Tops, The Temptations, Richie Havens, Dr. John, and many others.

DJ Breakaway

A Pueblo Native of New Mexico, Breakaway has entertained crowds for 15+ years. He is a professional DJ known for his skillful mixing, scratching, versatility, and music selection. Performing has always been about keeping people moving and telling a story through the blending of music.He learned the art of matching beats and connecting tracks early in his career. From the moment he witnessed a DJ spin vinyl on turntables in a college dorm room, mixing music has been his passion. In the late 90's, at a time when record shopping was the norm and carrying vinyl crates to shows was a requirement, music selection was an important part of how DJs created their identities. Each track had meaning, and was all part of the story. Breakaway's ability to piece together tracks and take listeners on a journey set him apart from other DJs. Through many years of parties, clubs, events, shows, and practice, one thing is for certain; Breakaway knows how to rock a party! In the evolving digital world of DJing, he has stayed true to his roots. Understanding what it means to play the right song at the right time is one of his trademarks. Hip Hop and reggae music have always been huge influences on him. That being said, he has also found a wealth of inspiration from other talented DJs/artists and many different genres of music. Fast forward to today, technology has changed the face of DJing. Now DJs carry computers to shows and thousands of songs are available at their fingertips. However, Breakaway is one of the storytellers who, because of their experience, knowledge, and love for their craft, continue to shine. Old stories can keep being told—new stories commence. Let him take you on a journey…DJ Breakaway is a founding member of the indigenous DJ collective known as Tabletop Sound and co-creator of the multimedia event Primary Blends & Spindian Market.

Dark Water Rising

To the members of Dark Water Rising, kinship is essential. Ties of kinship within the band's Native American communities helped to establish the band in 2008. Today, those same Native roots provide the framework for the band's sound, which they describe as "rocky soul." The band attributes their style of playing and singing to a combination of influences, which range from attending Sunday morning worship services to absorbing the diverse styles and tones of artists like Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, the BeeGees, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Dark Water Rising explores various themes of life—love, heartbreak, sacrifice, celebration, despair, pain—all while expressing and evoking sincere emotion on issues affecting contemporary Native American communities. Dark Water Rising has two albums under their belt to date: self-titled release "Dark Water Rising" (2010) and "Grace & Grit: Chapter 1" (2012). The band has performed throughout the East Coast, has garnered considerable radio airplay, appeared on NPR's "The Story with Dick Gordon" and "The State of Things", and has earned a Native American Music Award for "Debut Duo or Group of the Year" (2010). Dark Water Rising—comprised of powerhouse artists Charly Lowry (vocals/rhythm guitar/percussion), Aaron Locklear (keys/guitar/drums), Corey Locklear (lead guitar), Zack Hargett (bass) and Emily Musolino (vocals/lead guitar/bass), Pam McCarthy (djembe), and Siraaj James (trumpet)—continues to grow and amaze each time they perform.

Murray Porter

Murray Porter's music has an instantly recognizable sound. The Mohawk piano player from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory brings his culture and history to the masses through his music. With a mix of blues, country, and humour, Porter's gravelly, soulful voice sings not only of the history and contemporary stories of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, but also universal themes of love, lost and found. He has spent over 30 years playing his self-taught unique style of foot-stomping, hand clapping blues piano around the world. It was with his latest studio album Songs Lived & Life Played that Porter really started to see his popularity grow. The album won the 2012 JUNO for Aboriginal Album of the Year. It was nominated for two Western Canadian Music Awards and four Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards. It was at the latter awards show where he brought the house to their feet and to tears with the emotionally charged song about residential schools, "Is Sorry Enough?" To watch Porter live, it's so clear that he loves to perform, and does so with care, love, wonder, and unabashed happiness. He makes it look easy. These emotions are easily shared with the audience and one cannot help but get caught up in his performance. He has been compared to Dr. John, Joe Cocker and even Elton John! Robbie Robertson has called Porter "a master bluesman." When not touring, Porter supplements his income with gigs all over British Columbia and throughout Canada. Whether he is playing an intimate venue for local blues fans, or on a festival stage to thousands of music aficionados, Porter's love of performing comes across clear and strong. Murray has shared the stage with hundreds of Artists including the late B.B. King, the late Etta James, Sam 'Soul Man' Moore (twice), The Neville Brothers, Tom Cochrane, Ricky Skaggs, Marcia Ball, Pura Fe, Derek Miller, The Carolina Chocolate Drops and The Funk Brothers (twice), to name a few musicians. Over the years, Murray has performed, either as a solo or with his band at: 'Native Nations Inaugural Ball', in honour of President Obama's Inauguration, National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC (Jan. 21/13); Edmonton Folk Festival; Indspire Awards, Vancouver; JUNO Fest in Ottawa; Nanaimo Summertime Blues Festival (3 times); Adaka Cultural Festival, Whitehorse, YUKON; plus many community benefit concerts for Indigenous communities across Canada and the US.

And a presentation by:

Native American Women Warriors

Native American Women Warriors seek to provide recognition for Native American women veterans that have served in any branch of the armed forces during any era of service. Our goals are to assist our fellow Native American women veterans in receiving the assistance needed for recovery in, transitions from the military, PTSD and other emotional/mental traumas from serving. Additionally, we aim to give resources and assistance in Employment Readiness and Higher Learning goals.