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Things to Do on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Party like it’s Indigenous Peoples' Day, because it is.
Party like it’s Indigenous Peoples' Day, because it is.
Jessica Obert

When Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, he brought with him genocide, discrimination, and oppression to the indigenous peoples living in the Americas.

Instead of celebrating the oppression the explorer caused in the New World, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a reminder of the injustices brought to those native to the continent before he discovered America.

The idea was proposed in 1977 at the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas in Geneva. A decade later, states like North Dakota and California began to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day. Phoenix is the largest city in the United States to officially acknowledge the holiday.

Here is a list of some events around the Valley to help you celebrate.

Indigenous Peoples’ Celebration

Heard Museum
2301 North Central Avenue

Heard Museum’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration brings together the people and voices preserving the cultures and beliefs of those living in the Americas. The celebration will have documentary viewings, food and beverage demonstrations, and a discussion with author Elias Castillo. The free event takes place on Saturday, October 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those with official tribal ID also receive complimentary admission to the museum.

"Going Full Circle"

Puente Human Rights Movement
1937 West Adams Street

Puente Human Rights Movement is collaborating with Allegiance of Indigenous Peoples at ASU this year for a day of workshops, cultural performances, and food. The groups have also organized a march from the ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus to Puente’s headquarters that will start at 11 a.m. at the ASU Post Office. This free event takes place on Monday, October 14, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

'RISE: Indigenous Peoples’ Day Poster Show'

Evolve Gallery
918 North Second Street

If you think art should do more than decorate walls, you’ll want to catch the “RISE: Indigenous Peoples' Day Poster Show” organized by indigenous designers working here in metro Phoenix. It’s a chance to see diverse works that elevate important conversations about cultural identity, place-keeping, decolonization, resilience, and missing and murdered indigenous women. The exhibit is one of many community events affiliated with Phoenix Design Week. Exhibit hours are 6 to 9 p.m. on Monday, October 14. The evening will include a dance performance by Lady Yazzie, live music by Randy Kemp, and a pop-up show by the H.E.R. Medicine Collective.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Phoenix Art Museum
1625 North Central Avenue

Museum attendees can learn to weave textile patterns with Diné/Navajo textile artist Velma Kee Craig. There will also be a poetry reading at 2 p.m. with Raquel Denis and Anna Flores. This event, which takes place on Monday, October 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., is included with general museum admission.

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Agave: The Spirit of a Nation

Pigtails Cocktail Bar
21001 North Tatum Boulevard, #46-1405

The practice of distilling the agave plant for mezcal and tequila has been passed down from generation to generation. This event will show the documentary Agave: The Spirit of a Nation, a film that follows families that produce their spirits with agave. This free event takes place on Monday, October 14, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Native Art Market

The Pavilions at Talking Stick Shopping Center
9175 East Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale

Scottsdale’s Native Art Market is kicking off this Indigenous Peoples’ Day weekend. Local Native American artists and creators can safely sell their handcrafted works directly to their customers while also introducing others to real, authentic Native American products. This event is free and will happen every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until March 2020.

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