Our Future’s Heritage: A Celebration of Indigenous American Culture

A group of Indigenous American dancers performing.

“Our Future’s Heritage” marked a significant event in Vizcaya Museum and Gardens’ ongoing commitment to honoring and celebrating diverse cultural traditions.  

Held in partnership with Voices of the River of Grass, this installment of Vizcaya Late brought Indigenous voices and perspectives to the forefront, offering a unique opportunity for visitors to engage with and learn from Indigenous artists and community members.  

The Inspiration  

Vizcaya’s journey toward “Our Future’s Heritage” began with a deep commitment to understanding and acknowledging the history of the land on which the museum stands. According to Vizcaya’s Sr. Manager for Community Programs Rebecca Peterson, “we’ve been researching for several years into what was here before Vizcaya to tell a broader story.”  

As the museum’s research expanded to incorporate the Indigenous American community, the team began contemplating the concept of land acknowledgment and how to authentically tell the story of the land’s original inhabitants.   

“It’s a little bit tricky because we don’t have Indigenous artifacts, for example,” Peterson noted. “So, this program is one way that we manifest our land acknowledgment and one of the ways that we are better neighbors.”  

The timing of “Our Future’s Heritage” during Native American Heritage Month was no coincidence. Peterson explained that the decision to hold the event in November was driven by Vizcaya’s partners, Voices of the River of Grass, who played a pivotal role in shaping the event.   

“We considered it a takeover event. It’s important to make sure that people are telling their own stories as opposed to Vizcaya telling an Indigenous story. They decided what would be in the event, who would be in the event – all of it was curated by them,” Peterson emphasized.  

A man and a woman looking at a cell phone.

The Event  

“Our Future’s Heritage” took place as part of our popular Vizcaya Late series, which offers visitors evening access to the historic estate while exploring a new theme each month.  

Serving as a testament to the museum’s commitment to being a community hub, Vizcaya embraced the opportunity to make meaningful connections and dialogue with Indigenous American communities, recognizing their profound connection to the environment and cultural vitality.  

One instance that resonated with Peterson was the profound silence as Indigenous speakers stood before the backdrop of Biscayne Bay, addressing the audience seated on the Lower East Terrace steps.   

In her 13 years at Vizcaya, Peterson cannot recall another occasion where the audience was so completely engrossed in the moment, captivated by the unfolding narrative. The intensity of this was both surprising and deeply moving, underscoring the event’s significance and impact.  

To delve deeper into the essence of “Our Future’s Heritage,” watch the highlights video on Vizcaya’s YouTube channel.

Stay up to date on all events coming to Vizcaya in the months ahead by signing up for our email list below. 

Related Stories

Discover more about the art, artifacts and conservation work at Vizcaya.