Press Releases

Tenement Museum Announces Partnership with American Indian Community House

November 1, 2019


11/1/2019, New York, NY- To coincide with the first day of Native American Heritage month, the Tenement Museum today announced an institutional partnership with the American Indian Community House (AICH) to leverage their respective resources and expertise and advance their missions.

In April 2018, the Museum launched its 5-year strategic plan, in which a key goal was to tell a broader range of stories that have helped shape the American identity. The story of American identity is, of course, incomplete without the inclusion of the stories of Native people, which until now has not been included in the Museum’s storytelling and interpretation.

By partnering with the American Indian Community House, the Tenement Museum will seek the organization’s counsel so the interpretative framework for programing at the Tenement Museum better includes and acknowledges the contributions of Native peoples.

“We are deeply grateful to American Indian Community House for helping us to become a more inclusive institution,” said Michelle Moon, the Museum’s Chief Programs Officer.  “Our failure to address Native histories has long been a hole in our programming and – with AICH’s help – we hope to soon be doing a much better job on this front.”

In return, the Tenement Museum is planning to produce programming and digital content focused on Native-American stories. The Tenement Museum also plans to install a permanent land acknowledgement plaque in the Museum’s Visitor’s Center recognizing that the Museum stands on Native lands, developed jointly by Museum and AICH staff.

“We are pleased to work with the Tenement Museum as it seeks to go beyond a simple land acknowledgement to forge a genuine partnership with Native communities here in New York City,” said Melissa Oakes, the Executive Director of the American Indian Community House.  “It is not enough to put up a plaque: you have to match words with actions.”

About the Tenement Museum

At a time when immigration is at the center of our national conversation, the Tenement Museum is more relevant than ever. Since 1988, the Museum has forged emotional connections between visitors and immigrants past and present, through educator-led tours of its historic tenement buildings at 97 and 103 Orchard and the surrounding neighborhood, enhancing appreciation for the vital role immigrants play in shaping the American identity. The Museum has become one of New York City’s preeminent cultural and educational institutions, welcoming more than 238,000 visitors, including 55,000 students, each year. The Museum now aims to use every medium at its disposal to dramatically increase the impact of its programming—reaching millions not thousands– with its message of how immigrants built and continue to build America.

About the American Indian Community House

The American Indian Community House was founded entirely by Native and Indigenous people and continues to be led and staffed by Native people who work to promote our sovereignty and self-determination and support the cultural strength of our people in the New York City area.

Additionally, AICH works closely with the diverse communities and institutions of New York City to raise awareness of and appreciation for the Native cultures that still thrive in this urban environment and beyond. Furthermore, AICH continues as a multi-faceted center that provides services and support to people representing over 70 different Native nations in any given year, working tirelessly to empower New York City’s 110,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives, who often face challenging circumstances in the City.  AICH also sponsors a wide range of events, such as Powwows, Socials, artistic showings and performances, Native speakers on critical issues that impact Native people and a growing youth leadership development initiative. Honoring these obligations to our people enables us to advance Native cultural traditions and knowledge and gives us opportunities to generously share these traditions of the original people of the Americas with everyone in this great City.