The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony in Reno, Nevada, will celebrate and honor its ancestors during its 10th National Indian Week, which starts today.
“It is important that as a community, Native Americans pay tribute to the sacrifices and perseverance of our ancestors,” said Arlan D. Melendez, chairman of the RSIC, in a news release. “Our celebration centers on realizing how far we have come and what a promising future we hold.”
The RSIC, along with hundreds of other Native American tribes, will celebrate those who dedicated themselves to assuring that the contributions, achievements, and sacrifices of Native Americans and their descendants are honored.
“Our ancestors survived a lot,” said Janice Gardipe, a member of the RSIC and a volunteer for the week’s activities, in a news release. “We want to show Native pride because we are still here.”
The celebration sprung from Dr. Arthur Caswell Parker’s quest to secure citizenship for all American Indians. In 1914, Dr. Parker, a Cattaraugus Seneca, and the Reverend Red Fox James, set out for a 2,000 mile trek on horseback to Washington D.C. They planned to petition the president for an “Indian Day.”
This extraordinary action eventually led to Congress enacting the Indian Citizenship Act (1924), which extended citizenship to all U.S.-born American Indians.
The week’s events kicked off with Chairman Arlan Melendez reading the proclamation outlining the history and importance of National Indian Week. The story telling and youth poetry contest starts on Tuesday, and the youth hand drum contest begins on Wednesday; all leading up to the main event on Friday, the Native Pride March Parade.