Your calendar may designate Monday, October 8 as Columbus Day, but some people plan to celebrate another holiday on that date instead: Indigenous Peoples Day. And though New York isn’t listed among cities and states that officially celebrate the latter, there is a 2018 Indigenous Peoples Day celebration planned for NYC.
This year marks the fourth annual such celebration in New York City. The day is officially recognized in a few places throughout New York state, like Ithaca and Newstead, as well as major cities across the country like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin, Texas. A few entire states have moved to officially recognised Indigenous Peoples Day, as well: Minnesota, Vermont and Alaska. (South Dakota celebrates it as Native American Day).
To Cliff Matias, cultural director of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council, it’s a disgrace that New York City doesn’t officially recognize the holiday.
“New York is leaps and bounds behind the rest of the country in recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day, but also in acknowledging the fact that Columbus did not discover America,” he said. “That’s one of the things that we’re trying to get the city to do, of course, is to follow the rest of the country. And we’re supposed to be the most progressive city in the world, right?”
The Redhawk Native American Arts Council is one of the organizers of the New York City Indigenous Peoples Day 2018 celebration, along with a consortium of other indigenous organizations: American Indian Community House, the United Confederation of Taino People, the Kechiwa Nation, the Halawai, the Naoiwi, Shinnecock Cultural Arts and the Ramapough Nation.
The first New York City Indigenous Peoples Day celebration was in 2015, when 6,000 indigenous people and their supporters gathered on Randall’s Island. Now, for 2018, the groups say they will “once again will be rethinking Columbus Day with a focus on Indigenous people, their beautiful cultures and traditions.”
Here’s what you need to know about the New York City Indigenous Peoples Day 2018 celebration.
When is NYC Indigenous Peoples Day?
Indigenous Peoples Day is the same day as Columbus Day, which this year is on October 8, 2018. The Redhawk Native American Arts Council celebration actually takes place over the course of two days, though: October 7 and 8.
Where is the 2018 Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration?
The New York City celebration is at the Harlem River Field in front of Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island Park, Harlem.
NYC Indigenous Peoples Day 2018 schedule
The celebration will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, October 7, and that day’s festivities will go until 6 p.m with live music, song and dance by traditional Native artists (headliners include Nahko Bear of Medicine for the People, Robert Mirabal, and Raye Zaragoza.)
Attendees are invited to camp overnight because on Monday, the celebration will begin bright and early with a sunrise ceremony at 7 a.m. Matias said the ceremony is one of the most beautiful events of the two-day celebration, and is lead by elders from many of the different tribes involved with Indigenous Peoples Day.
Monday’s celebration will continue until 4 p.m. with more music, song and dance as well as spoken word and guest speakers.
The NYC Indigenous Peoples Day celebration 2018 is free and open to all. For more information, visit redhawkcouncil.org.