The American Folklife Center (AFC) hosted a reception in celebration of its 40th anniversary last Wednesday. Special guests giving remarks were David Mao, acting Librarian of Congress; Kurt Dewhurst, chairman of AFC’s board of trustees; Betsy Peterson, AFC’s current director; and David Isay, founder of StoryCorps.
The reception included a special performance by Nakotah LaRance, the 2015 and 2016 World Hoop Dance Champion. LaRance comes from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, New Mexico. He is well known as an actor for roles in Steven Spielberg’s “Into the West” miniseries, HBO’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” and AMC’s “Longmire.” He was also a principal dancer in the Cirque Du Soleil show “Totem” and is currently the master instructor for the Pueblo of Pojoaque Youth Hoop Dancers.
The American Folklife Center was created by Public Law 94-201, The American Folklife Preservation Act, which was signed into law by President Gerald Ford on Jan. 2, 1976. The law placed AFC at the Library of Congress to “preserve and present American Folklife” through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the American Folklife Center Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in 1928 and has become one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the U.S. and around the world. The archive includes about 6 million sound recordings, manuscripts, photographs and other items — 5 million of which have been acquired in the last 40 years.
More information on AFC’s 40th anniversary programming and plans can be found here.