Last year Indigenous Peoples’ Day was declared a national holiday and, being celebrated this year today, Monday October 10th, it’s a day dedicated to “recogniz[ing] Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.”
And since NYC used to be inhabited by a group of Native Americans called the Lenape people, honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day hits much closer to home for us New Yorkers.
There’s no shortage of ways to celebrate and honor Indigenous Peoples, and here are some ways to do so in NYC:
1. Enjoy speakers, activists, and cultural songs and dances at the 8th annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration
One of the largest Indigenous celebrations in the Northeast, this celebration takes place on Randall’s Island and is filled with music, dancing, food, and endless Indigenous Peoples culture. Attendees can enjoy speakers, activists, and cultural songs and dances today (10/10) from 10a.m. – 2p.m. The celebration is free to attend. Learn more at their Instagram here.
When: Monday, October 10, 10a.m. – 2p.m.
Where: Randall’s Island
2. Check out a performance and site-specific installation in Columbus Park
MORE ART is recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day with the presentation of unlocking the cages of captivity while sitting on a park bench—a performance and site-specific installation created by performance artist George Emilio Sanchez and visual artist Patty Ortiz. The performance acknowledges the geographic location of the public space of Columbus Plaza, and the ancestral homelands of which they lie upon. Sanchez will spend 2 hours on a park bench in Columbus Park’s plaza pointing out parallels and contradictions between the legacies and realities of the three historic figures acknowledged by the park–Christopher Columbus, Henry Ward Beecher, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
When: Wednesday, October 12, 5p.m. – 7p.m.
Where: Fred Wilson’s installation, in the plaza inside of Columbus Park, by Johnson Street, next to Borough Hall.
3. Watch films at the Indigenous Peoples’ Day Film Festival
Celebrate and honor Indigenous People’s Day at the Brooklyn Heights Library for their second indigenous film festival! All movies are FREE and no reservations are required. They’ll be screening five movies over five days showcasing five indigenous films from USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. The next film screening will take place Wednesday, October 12 at 3:30p.m.
Where: 286 Cadman Plaza W, Multi-purpose Room in the lower level of the library
When: Wednesday, October 12, 3:30p.m.
4. Browse the world’s most expansive collections of Native artifacts at the National Museum of the American Indian
The NMAI contains one of the world’s most expansive collections of Native artifacts, including objects, photographs, archives, and media covering the entire Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego. One of the museums three facilities, the George Gustav Heye Center (GGHC) in NYC houses exhibitions, research, educational activities, and performing arts programs.
When: Monday-Sunday 10a.m. – 5p.m.
Where: Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, One Bowling Green
American Indian Community House (AICH) was founded in 1969 by Native American volunteers as a community-based organization that serves the needs of Native Americans residing in NYC. Currently composed of Native Americans from 72 different tribes, this non-profit hosts a slew of events that anyone interested can participate in. See their full list of events here.
When: List of events here
Where: List of events here