Spokane community to hold Indigenous Peoples’ Day event Monday

Biden Is First President To Mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Canada celebrates the culture of its native people with National Indigenous Peoples Day, held in June every year. Canadians recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. In this photo Native Americans mark the day in 2015 in Winnipeg.

SPOKANE, Wash. — To celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, an event will be held in downtown Spokane on Monday night to bring attention to issues facing Native Americans.

Jenny Slagle, an organizer of the event and Spokane School Board member, said the holiday is a chance for Indigenous people to show they are still here, and vital contributors to their families, tribes and “the fabric of local economies, arts, culture, politics and society.”

The “State of the Urban Native Community” will be given at the event at Spokane City Hall. During it, Slagle said The Native American Alliance for Policy & Action will talk about current issues the urban Native community faces, as well as how the Native population has increased. They will also call for better representation and funding.

As a member of the Yakama Tribe, Slagle said the history of Native Americans is a shared history and a vital part of American history that everyone can learn together. She described it as a living and evolving story of resistance, resilience, economic strength and cultural revitalization.

However, she said it is also a painful history of wrongdoing and loss. This includes loss of languages, children taken from homes and punished for not assimilating, whole Native nations forced to move from their homelands and broken treaty promises. She said injustices persist in inaccurate histories taught in schools, the way Native Americans are portrayed in sports and advertising, and cultural appropriation.

“Within families, across more than 600 sovereign Native nations and in our shared neighborhoods, schools and communities, Native Americans are teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, artists, writers, scientists, activists/protectors, politicians and more,” she said.

The event will include an honor song and acknowledgements, comments from Indigenous leaders and organizations and a red jingle dress dance.

“Native Americans’ wisdom, values, historical experiences and creative resilience are greatly needed to sustain Native nations and to care for our lands and waters, our urban and rural communities, our country and our planet,” she sad. “We invite our local community, city and county governments, community-based organizations to come together to find commonalities, celebrate our differences and work together for our shared future and the futures of the next generations.”

Also, attorney and Spokane Tribe member Margo Hill said people can observe the holiday by finding out which tribes lived in the regions, learn tribal history, work with conservationist groups to give land back to the tribes, protect the environment and wildlife, and donate to tribal scholarships and language schools.

The event will occur from 5:45 to 8:00 p.m. You can learn more about it here.

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