Although Columbus Day may be observed by the U.S. today, across Turtle Island it is instead a day to recognize, honor and celebrate First Peoples. From Maine to South Dakota to New Mexico, events are being held featuring Native music, dance, film and more. Although some larger events will be held this weekend, including the 20th Annual Indigenous Peoples Day Powwow and Indian Market in Berkeley, California and the 30th Annual Native American Connections Parade in Phoenix (check ICTMN’s Pow Wow listings for details), enriching and spectacular Native events abound today. Here are some of the highlights.
Hear special guest speaker Gyasi Ross at the Portland State of Mind: Indigenous Solidarity Day Gatherings at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Join the PSU Native American Student & Community Center for tours of their beautiful building and collection of Native artwork, a student information fair, Shinny games, Indigenous Peoples of PSU Meet & Greet and Ross’s talk. Events begin at 11 a.m. For further info, click here.
Dance at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Center will feature traditional dance performances from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring the Southern Slam Dance Group of Zia Pueblo and the Fontenelle Family Dance Group of Zuni Pueblo. For details, visit IndianPueblo.org.
Listen to Native radio program Native America Calling for the special episode “Christopher Columbus Through Taíno Eyes.” A new book based on a true story, Taíno: A Novel, by José Barreiro, Taíno. allows readers to take a journey into the world of Indigenous Caribbean and the Taíno people through a fictional first-person account of an elderly Taíno man Guaikan, who was adopted in his youth by Christopher Columbus. Beyond the fictional story, Barreiro’s work as a fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian helps to open up the dialogue of how Columbus’s actions and legacy impacted and changed Indigenous nations. When it comes to the history and so-called discovery of the Americas is the Indigenous side ever told accurately? Can the record ever be set straight? Join us as we unfold one Taíno’s take on Christopher Columbus. Native American Calling airs live from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Visit the show’s website for further info: NativeAmericaCalling.com.
Visit the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and check out the 50/50: Fifty Artists, Fifty Years exhibit. 50/50: Fifty Artists, Fifty Years reflects upon the 50-year legacy of the Institute of American Indian Arts through the works of the National Collection of Contemporary Native Art. Artwork from 50 exemplary artists was selected from each decade since 1962 and illustrates the diversity and talent that has come to represent the Institute. Many of the artists, such as T.C. Cannon, Tony Abeyta, Marie Watt, Gerald McMaster and Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie, to name a few, are well-known in the contemporary art world for their contributions. IAIA produced not only visual artists, but also spawned a new generation of Native American writers. In celebration of the Institute’s rich literary history, audio recordings are incorporated into the exhibition, including those of Elizabeth Woody, Sara Ortiz and Bruce King. For visitor’s info, go to Iaia.edu/museum.
Visit the Crazy Horse Memorial in Crazy Horse, South Dakota to commemorate Native American Day, a state holiday since 1990. The Memorial’s Native American Day Celebration will feature an educational program, Native American singers, dancers, artists and storytellers, hands-on activities for children, a blast on the mountain carving and a free buffalo stew lunch for all visitors. The music of the Lakota Music Project will be showcased on the holiday. The concert will feature the orchestral instrumental voices of the South Dakota Symphony blending with the traditional Oglala Lakota drumming and singing of the Creekside Singers from Pine Ridge. Admission is free with requested donation of cash or 3 cans of food for the KOTA Care & Share Food Drive. For details, go to CrazyHorseMemorial.org.
Dance at the National Museum of the American Indian George Gustav Heye Center in New York. Circle of Dance is a five-year exhibition at the Gustav Heye Center that presents Native dance as a vibrant, meaningful, and diverse form of cultural expression. Featuring ten social and ceremonial dances from throughout the Americas, the exhibition illuminates the significance of each dance and highlights the unique characteristics of its movements and music. Music and dance have always been essential to the spiritual, cultural, and social lives of Native peoples. Unique forms of ritual, ceremonial, and social dancing remain a vital part of contemporary community life. Everywhere dance is found, it is accompanied by distinctive Native musical styles. Rich music and dance traditions create strong ties that bind American Indian communities to all living things, to the earth, spirit world, and—when people have deep ancestral claims to their dances—to the past. Presenting a wide range of movement styles, Circle of Dance illustrates the dynamic dances through which Native peoples maintain old ways and introduce new ones, while expressing and celebrating their strongly felt tribal, village, clan, social, and individual identities. For details, visit Gosmithsonian.com/museums/national-museum-of-the-american-indian-heye-center-new-york.
Watch short Native films at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. for free. At 12.30 p.m. in the Rasmuson Theatre, catch Pelq’ilc/Coming Home (2009, 33 min, Canada, directed by Helen Haig-Brown [Tsilhqot’in]): Two communities of the Secwepemc Nation in south-central British Columbia share their experiences in cultural renewal and recovery. The holistic education process they are engaged in is deeply rooted in language, family, and tradition; it is practiced to strengthen them and carry them forward as a people. That’s followed by Mom ‘n’ Me (2010, 3 min, Canada, directed by Helen Haig-Brown [Tsilhqot’in]): The filmmaker traces the loss of language over three generations of her family and explores her own desire to recover it. For details, visit Nmai.si.edu/home.
View the remarkable talents of young Native artists at the Waponahki Student Art Show at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine. A collaboration of Maine Indian Education and the Abbe Museum, the Waponahki Student Art Show brings together a wonderful variety of art created by Native American students from early childhood education through high school. Using a wide array of media, these young artists incorporate traditional beliefs and values with the modern, multi-cultural world around them. For details, visit AbbeMuseum.org.