A lineup of events marking Indigenous Peoples’ Day includes “An Indian Country Conversation: Art, Policy and Social Justice Movement Building in Indian Country” from 4-6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, in Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Carpenter Hall at 44 South Pioneer St.
The event is a dinner and discussion, according to SOU Native American Studies Program Chair Brooke Colley. Hawaiian style buffet food will be served and a discussion of how art, media and the humanities help facilitate difficult conversations will follow.
“For example, going to ‘Manahatta’ … helps people who don’t have that experience or are from this community understand more deeply other peoples’ perspectives,” Colley said.
Panelists Se-ah-dom Edmo with the Western States Center; Mark Trahant, “Indian Country Today” editor; Mary Kathryn Nagle, “Manahatta” playwright; and Natalie Ball, an established indigenous contemporary artist, are expected to attend. The discussion will also be open to the audience, Colley said.
This event is free to the public, but seating is limited. Call the OSF box office at 800-219-8161 to reserve tickets (use promo code 18551).
There are two events set for Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, Oct. 8.
A salmon bake will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the SOU Stevenson Union Courtyard with special guests Ed Little Crow, Kimmi McNair, Screaming Eagle drum group, Felicia McNair, Mark Colson, Rowena Jackson and Chauncey Peltier.
“There should be dancing, music, performances, some speakers and food … and it will also be a good time to just get together and learn about some of the issues in Indian county and also celebrate the continuation of peoples,” Colley said.
Some of the topics to be discussed include the Dakota Access Pipeline and the American Indian movement in the 1970s. One of the speakers will explain how his father has been a political prisoner of the U.S. since then.
“Earth Protectors: Indigenous Solidarity with the Earth, North and South” from 3-5:30 p.m. in the SOU Stevenson Union-Rogue River Room will feature guest speaker Dr. Jim Phillips, author of “Honduras in Dangerous Times.” This presentation is a conversation about indigenous peoples in Honduras and other parts of South America, including “the way in which extractive economies and capitalism create really violent and difficult situations for them in retaining their lands, their rights and access to resources,” Colley said.
All events are free and open to the public.
Colley said SOU and the city of Ashland have officially been celebrating the holiday only since last year, after an SOU student, Lupe Sims of the White Mountain Apache tribe, created a petition to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in lieu of Columbus Day. The city of Ashland then chose to also designate the day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to celebrate Columbus Day here in the U.S.,” Colley said. “You know that we’re celebrating a person that brought a lot of terror and violence to this hemisphere … who set the stage for the genocides of indigenous people, who set the stage for the transatlantic slave trade … there’s a decision that there should be a different approach to the holiday.”
“It’s not to erase the presence of Columbus Day, it’s to talk about it in a more nuanced way and to see indigenous peoples’ point of view as part of that discussion,’ Colley said.
In a written statement, Colley noted the city of Ashland was built upon “the lands of the Takelma and Shasta peoples, located near the Klamath Basin region that is the home and ancestral territory to many tribes and bands, and established in a state that recognizes nine sovereign tribes.”
“We will use this day to tell the whole story about Columbus’ legacy and celebrate the historic, cultural and contemporary presence of Indigenous people and their contributions to the world,” Colley said.