Mixed Me­dia In­dige­nous Peo­ples Day

GOOD­BYE, COLUM­BUS: IN­DIGE­NOUS PEO­PLES DAY

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - — Pa­tri­cia Leni­han

A na­tional trend to reimag­ine Colum­bus Day gained steam in New Mex­ico when on Sept. 26, Santa Fe County unan­i­mously ap­proved a procla­ma­tion declar­ing the sec­ond Mon­day in Oc­to­ber “In­dige­nous Peo­ples Day.” The city of Santa Fe passed a sim­i­lar res­o­lu­tion in 2016. Other New Mex­ico cities that avow the day in­clude Al­bu­querque, Gallup, Grants, and Farm­ing­ton.

Colum­bus Day re­mains a fed­eral hol­i­day in Santa Fe, which has no au­thor­ity to change that, but the city joins a grow­ing num­ber of lo­cal­i­ties that have re­placed or com­bined the day with one rec­og­niz­ing that peo­ple were al­ready liv­ing in the Amer­i­cas when Christo­pher Colum­bus ar­rived. One mo­ti­va­tion is to trans­form a tra­di­tional cel­e­bra­tion of colo­nial­ism into a chance to ac­knowl­edge a com­plex his­tory and or­ga­nize against what many see as cur­rent in­jus­tices.

Colum­bus Day first was rec­og­nized in 1937 when Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt made it a fed­eral hol­i­day; the Ital­ian-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity had lob­bied for its cre­ation start­ing in the early 1900s. Ac­knowl­edg­ing both as­pects of the is­sue in a 2016 pres­i­den­tial procla­ma­tion, Barack Obama said, “As we re­flect on the ad­ven­tur­ers through­out his­tory who charted new cour­ses and sought new heights, let us remember the com­mu­ni­ties who suf­fered, and let us pay trib­ute to our her­itage and em­brace the mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism that de­fines the Amer­i­can ex­pe­ri­ence.”

On Satur­day, Oct. 7, at 3:30 p.m., Santa Clara/Po­joaque Red Tur­tle Pue­blo dancers will be on the Plaza, while in­ter­tribal Na­tive Pride Dancers ap­pear at the same time on Sun­day, Oct. 8. Then on Mon­day, Oct. 9, Santa Fe’s Na­tive Amer­i­can com­mu­nity mem­bers will show­case award-win­ning dancers, drum­mers, singers, mu­si­cians, and sto­ry­tellers from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., also on the Plaza.

Event chair and past gov­er­nor of the Po­joaque Pue­blo Ge­orge Rivera said, “Col­lab­o­ra­tion, recog­ni­tion, and cel­e­bra­tion are the fo­cus of In­dige­nous Peo­ples Day. The event pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for lo­cals and vis­i­tors alike to ex­pe­ri­ence Na­tive cul­ture and ex­pand their knowl­edge and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties in New Mex­ico.” The oc­ca­sion is free; for more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.santafe.org/in­dige­nous_peo­ples_­day.

Cham­pion dancer Larry Yazzie (Navajo/Meskwaki) leads Na­tive Pride Dancers in an Ea­gle Dance; photo cour­tesy Tourism Santa Fe

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