Featuring over 500 Native American artists, educators, singers, dancers and performing groups from across the Americas, the Redhawk Native American Arts Council is hosting an Indigenous People’s Day on Monday, October 12th and a Native American Festival and Pow wow this weekend at Randall's Island Park in New York City.
While many New York City residents may be attending the Columbus Day parade on that Monday, event organizer Cliff Matias says both the weekend pow wow and the Monday event deserve their rightful Indigenous emphasis.
“The amazing thing about this weekend’s pow wow is that it is the first contest pow wow held on the island of Manhattan ever,” says Matias.
After the weekend events, Matias says a collaboration of nations and peoples will come together in solidarity to commemorate Native cultures.
“On Monday October 12, we celebrate Indigenous People's Day rather than Columbus Day. We seek to reclaim and redefine this day to celebrate the rich cultures and histories of indigenous people in the Americas, rather than a day dedicated to the forced colonization of native peoples. The day will start with a Sunrise Ceremony followed by performances from Indigenous people around the world. It will be a day of healing, sharing and celebrating indigeneity,” says Matias.
The Indigenous People’s day performers on Monday will include world-renowned flutist Robert Mirabal, ICTMN’s own author (and musician) Gyasi Ross, as well as activists Pua Case and Hawane Rios.
“On both the weekend and on Monday; and in honor of the Indigenous people hailing from outside of the U.S. there will also be a Polynesian dance troupe representing cultures from the islands of Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa and New Zealand, an Aztec group from Mexico City and Inca groups from Peru and Ecuador, and a Taino group celebrating the Native culture of the people from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic,” Matias says.
“These artists share their traditions from North America, South America, the Caribbean and Polynesian Islands,” says Matias. “Our mission is to break the stereotyped images created by the media and sports teams using Native Americans as mascots.”
The three day celebration is a collaboration facilitated by the Redhawk Native American Arts Council. Founded in 1994, it is a non-profit cultural organization and the only Indigenous Arts Council in New York State. Each year they provide work for over 250 Native American artists, residing in the New York City area.
The organization also hosts a cultural center longhouse and urban garden in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and creates educational programs for students and young urban Native American youth eager to learn about their cultures and traditions.
Totonac Pole Flyers. Photo by Jason Morgan Edwards.
Tickets are $12 for adults and teens, $10 for seniors (65+) and students, $8 for youth (6-12 yrs.) and free for children 5 yrs. & under.
Monday’s event starts at sunrise and is free.