Community
Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Join Indigenous Peoples’ Day events in Santa Fe, Las Vegas and Denver
BY
Fawn Douglas
October 7, 2021

Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes the resilience and presence of our Indigenous communities across the United States. This holiday is meant to replace Columbus Day, which celebrates the mythology of his “discovery” of this land, where Indigenous peoples had already lived since time immemorial. Indigenous Peoples’ Day can’t single handedly fix the damage of the erasure of Indigenous history in our country,  but it’s a day to mark the recognition of our true story, our true history, and our presence today.

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a way for all of us to move forward together and collectively decolonize ourselves and our history.

I am a member of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe and a Cultural Engagement Specialist with Meow Wolf based in Las Vegas, Nevada. I also have roots in the Southern Cheyenne, Creek, Pawnee and the Moapa Paiute tribe. Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart is on the ancestral lands of the Southern Paiute people and we recognize and pay respects to those that have come before us, and those who are still here today. We define Indigenous as the first peoples of the land before the time of colonization.

Fawn Douglas. Photo by Kate Russell.

To recognize Indigenous Peoples Day this year, Meow Wolf is donating $1 of all ticket sales from our exhibitions on October 11 to Indian Centers in all of our locations - Santa Fe Indigenous Center, Las Vegas Indian Center and the Denver Indian Center. We are also hosting staff supplies drives, and inviting the public to donate supplies on Monday, October 11 at one of our locations.

These efforts join a targeted initiative by Meow Wolf to better support local Indigenous people. This includes establishing an internship program with the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), COVID-19 relief efforts to support the Las Vegas Indian Center, Navajo Nation, Pueblo of Jemez, Pueblo of Cochiti and the Santa Fe Indigenous Center, and opening the Denver and Las Vegas exhibitions with Land Acknowledgement Ceremonies and permanent Land Acknowledgement plaques.

As we brought Convergence Station into the world, we focused on involving and acknowledging Indigenous communities in Denver. We consulted with the Denver American Indian Commission to use the Arapaho language on all directional signage inside Convergence Station along with English, Spanish and Braille. Also, we held an Indigenous-led Acknowledgement Ceremony for our Denver exhibition’s opening involving performances by Grassdancers, Jingle Dancers, and Huitzilopotchtli.

Land Acknowledgement Ceremony at the opening of the Convergence Station in Denver. Photo by Kate Russell.

Events, music, dancing, food, collaborations, education, storytelling and conversations around Indigenous history and identity are all important experiences to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  

Santa Fe Indigenous Center

The Santa Fe Indigenous Center works to support, promote and enrich Santa Fe’s diverse Indigenous community by identifying and serving their needs and interests. Caren Gala, from Nambe Pueblo, has been the director for four years.

Caren Gala at the Santa Fe Indigenous Center’s Office. Photo by Noor-un-nisa Touchon.

Last year, she decided to change the organization’s name to Santa Fe Indigenous Center, from Santa Fe Indian Center, because she felt it better represented their community. The Santa Fe Indigenous Center provides emergency financial assistance, and serves as a referral service and a resource center. They also support the community through free events involving dance, music, food, poetry, movies, lectures, and art.

Indigenous Community Day 2019. Photo by Seth Roffman.

“Our mission is to provide opportunities for the community that wouldn’t otherwise be available...Our mission is important because there are no other organizations like ours,” said Gala. She’s hoping to gain more financial support from the City of Santa Fe and relevant foundations.

“To me, Indigenous Peoples Day means the recognition of our culture, that we are still existing.” To learn more about the Santa Fe Indigenous Center, please visit their website and join their mailing list to stay informed about their resources and events.

Las Vegas Indian Center

The Las Vegas Indian Center stays true to its mission to promote the rich culture of Native Americans and provide services to improve self sufficiency of the people. The services have supported the population in Las Vegas which surpasses 50,000 people that identify as Native American.

The Las Vegas Indian Center. Photo by Troy Shay.

The LVIC has a housing program, rental assistance, utilities assistance and job assistance. The Center also promotes cultural arts such as ribbon skirt making, and beadwork classes. The Indian Center has goals for the community such as a food pantry.

"Our Voices Matter" mural by Gear Duran. Rulon Pete at the Las Vegas Indian Center. Photo by Troy Shay.

“We want to be able to have other programs to help make it easier for the community. That's what we're hoping to do. And that's what we're striving to do. And we're working towards that.  We've reopened our doors. We are welcoming people and we want to continue making it better. And I think it's going that route.” - Rulon Pete, Director of the Las Vegas Indian Center. To learn more about the Las Vegas Indian Center, visit their website.

Denver Indian Center

The Denver Indian Center services Native Americans in the City of Denver, Colorado that has a population of over 100,000 Indigenous peoples from across the Nation.

“We want to provide that motivation, encouragement, support in all ways, both tangible and intangible to help our community become positive and profitable, and actually help them survive and navigate living in an urban setting and all same time, maintaining their pride and culture with respect to who they are and where they came from,” said Rick Waters, the Director of the Denver Indian Center.

Rick Waters at the Denver Indian Center. Photo by Kennedy Cottrell.

Denver Indian Center, in partnership with Denver Indian Health and Family Services, was the first to offer vaccines in the city of Denver to service the health and well being of those in need. They also run a dedicated food bank program, elders programs, a Pow Wow, community garden, work placement assistance program, Honoring Fatherhood program and so much more.

Denver Indian Center Mural by Danielle SeeWalker, Hunkpapa Lakota Artist from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Photo by Kennedy Cottrell.

When asked about the meaning of Indigenous Peoples Day, Waters responded, “it's a reminder to everyone that before this was ‘America’ or the’ United States,’ it was Indian country, and Indian history is American history. And it began from time immemorial and not 1492. So it's a day for everybody, Indians, and non-Indians alike to reflect on the history of the land of which we're currently calling home.” To learn more about the Denver Indian Center and their work, please visit their website.

If you find yourself in any of our locations, we’ve got a list of events for you to enjoy in celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, 2021, all communities are welcome!

Santa Fe Events

Meow Wolf Santa Fe is on Tewa Land, Ogha Po'oge

Saturday, October 9, 2021 @ Santa Fe Plaza
  • 10:00 am  Dance Group TBA
  • 11:00 am  Danza Azteca de Anahauc (Taos)
  • 1:00 pm  Serpent Trail Dance Group (Ohkay)
  • 2:00 pm  Soaring Eagle Dance Group (Zuni)
  • 3:00 pm  Lighting Boy Hoop Dancers (Inter-tribal)
  • Updated schedule listed here
Sunday, October 10, 2021 @ Santa Fe Plaza
  • 10:00 am  Oak Canyon Dance Group (Jemez)
  • 11:00 am  Kallestewa Dance Group (Zuni)
  • 1:00 pm  Sky City Buffalo/Ram Dance (Pueblo of Acoma)
  • 3:00 pm  Pojoaque Pueblo Youth Hoop Dance Group
  • Updated schedule listed here
Monday, October 11, 2021 @ IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

There will be free museum admission at MoCNA all day.

  • 11:00 am - 12:00 pm Walk-in Tours of Exposure Exhibition with MoCNA Docents
  • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Walk-in Tours of Exposure Exhibition with MoCNA Docents
  • 1:00 pm - 1:30 pm Hoop Dance Performance by Lightning Boy Foundation, Inc. at the MoCNA Art Park
  • Updated schedule listed here
Monday, October 11, 2021 @ Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Las Vegas

Meow Wolf Las Vegas is on Southern Paiute- Nuwuvi, land.

Saturday, October 9, 2021 @ The Old Fort Fort State Park
  • A Transaction in Paiute History, 1911: Art Unveiling
  • 11:00 am - 12:00 pm Artist talk
  • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Reception
Sunday, October 10, 2021 1-5pm @ Winchester Dondero Cultural Center

Every Day is Indigenous Peoples’ Day- Cultural Event & Car Parade

  • 1:00 pm Event is open to public, arts, crafts and food vendors
  • 1:30 pm Car Parade begins from the Winchester, up the Las Vegas Strip and back
  • 1:45 pm - 4:45 pm Indigenous Performances every 20 minutes
  • 5:00 pm Event closes
Monday, October 11, 2021 6- 8 pm @ The College of Southern Nevada. Charleston Campus Building I, Room 108


Denver

Meow Wolf Denver is on Arapaho, Cheyenne and Ute Land.

Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration in Boulder, CO

Saturday, October 9 - Monday, October 11, 2021

  • Saturday, October 9 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. - Junkyard Social Club - Cinnamon Kills First Sessions
  • Sunday, October 10 from 4 to 6 p.m.   Honoring the Indigenous Self  
  • Right Relationship Boulder - “Celebrating Boulder’s Native Peoples”
  • Saturday, October 9 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Arapaho Storytelling
  • Saturday, October 9 from 1 to 2 p.m. – Arapaho History
  • Saturday, October 9 from 3 to 4 p.m. – Indigenous Foods Cooking Class 
  • Sunday, October 10 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Hand Games
  • Sunday, October 10 from 1 to 2 p.m. - Arapaho Language
  • Creative Nations Indigenous Art Market at the Dairy: Indigenous Traditional Dances
  • Saturday, October 9 at 12 p.m. Dine’tah Navajo Dancers
  • Saturday, October 9 at 2 p.m. Cha’Bii’Tu Apache Crown Dance Group
  • Sunday, October 10 at 12 p.m. Wind River Dancers
  • Monday, October 11 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Luna Cultura, Art, Science and Culture for Thriving Communities, LLC – The Totonacapan-Nahua Fusion
  • Monday, October 11 from 4 to 6 p.m.   Unci Makha and the Stories She Carries
  • Monday, October 11 from 7 to 8 p.m. Boulder’s Fort Chambers’ Story
  • Monday, October 11 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Fjällräven Denver. Panel discussion, dancers, and light libations. Link to register
  • Updated schedule listed here
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