During Indigenous People’s Day, Native traditions are proudly on full display. NPR reported that the very idea of Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first proposed in 1977 at a United Nations conference. Years later, Indigenous Peoples’ Day was then first celebrated in South Dakota in 1990. In 2021, President Joe Biden’s administration issued a proclamation declaring Indigenous Peoples’ Day a federal holiday to be celebrated on the second Monday of October alongside Columbus Day. With the holiday around the corner, it is the perfect time to observe Native American culture. There are many things one can do on Long Island to celebrate.
Here are some ways you can recognize and commemorate the holiday:
Attend the 3rd Annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration.
The Shinnecock Nation will be throwing their 3rd Annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration. Traditional drumming, singing, storytelling and cuisine, artisans and Indigenous entrepreneurs will be showcased. The celebration is free and will take place at Raindrop’s Cafe in Southampton. This event is a great way to educate oneself on the culture while supporting Native American business owners and artists. Vendors will include jewelers, health experts and more. For more information on the event, click here.
Check out the Shinnecock Oyster Festival.
The Shinnecock Oyster Festival will be a day of fresh oysters, culture and celebration. The purpose of this inaugural festival, hosted by the Shinnecock Nation, is to create a fun and festive atmosphere for families while bringing awareness to environmental issues. Growing oysters and hard clams on Shinnecock land will help to sustain generations within the Shinnecock Nation food-wise and financially. They also helps to prevent coastal erosion and combat the effects of climate change. The Oct. 7 festival will take place in Southampton right on the Shinnecock Powwow Grounds. For more informant about the event, click here.
Support organizations like the Shinnecock Kelp Farmers.
The Southampton-based collective of six women, the Shinnecock Kelp Famers, work to preserve the environment on Long Island and is a great local organization to contribute to. The multigenerational group of women use their Native 10,000-year relationship with the land and sea to capture carbon and nitrogen that has poisoned the waters of Shinnecock Bay and beyond. As the population around Shinnecock Bay has grown, the water quality has gone down. Studies by The Nature Conservancy and partners have shown that nitrogen pollution from aging septic systems and fertilizer runoff has been the cause. Kelp creates a sustainable environment for a diverse number of species within the ocean. This woman-led nonprofit, which operates the first Indigenous-owned kelp hatchery and farm on the East Coast, plan on continuing to expand in order to produce more kelp. You can support the work that they are doing by clicking here.
Support local artists.
You can support local Indigenous artists by attending their shows, buying their art or shouting them out on social media. It doesn’t take too much to show support. Whether it’s a share on Facebook or purchasing one of their works, supporting local artists can easily be done and is a good way to empower Native artists and local business owners. One Artist Jeremy Dennis, is a Long Island artist born and raised on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation. The fine arts photographer captures breathtaking imagery of Native Americans, exploring ideas of cultural assimilation, Indigenous identity, Shinnecock ancestral practices and more.
By supporting an organization, attending an event or simply utilizing the power of social media, you can easily show support for Native Americans on Indigenous Peoples’ Day and every day of the year.