The weather was beautiful at Penn Treaty Park, site of the 3rd annual Indigenous Peoples Day Philly celebration, Saturday October 12th, 2019. “Penn Treaty Park is a significant place where the Great Elm Tree of Shackamaxon once stood. It is where many sachems (chiefs) of the Lenni Lenape and other tribes from the Lenapehoking territory would meet for council. Indigenous Peoples Day Philly is proud to honor the space by bringing our diverse Philadelphia Indigenous community together in celebration of our resilience, strength, and beauty.”
Dignitaries for the event were Mark Gould, Chief of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape, and Tai Pelli (Taino), Human Rights Activist. Performers included the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape (Drum Group and Dancers); Vaughnda Hilton and Native Nations Dance Theater; The Magic of Storytelling with Tchin; Richie Olivera (Andean Music); Lauren Garret (Violinist); Taino Council Guatu Ma Cu a Boriken; and Campa Tlanesi (Danza Azteca del Anahuac). The event was sponsored by the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation, We Are the Seeds, Philly Taino Cultural Workshop, Indigenous 215, Philly with Standing Rock, Philadelphia Assembled, FREE LEONARD PELTIER, and Friends of Penn Treaty Park.
Trinity Norwood (Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape) noted, “It was our largest event to date with 5 different indigenous communities represented and about 200 spectators throughout the day.” The Indigenous Peoples Day planning committee is a collective of several Indigenous organizations in Philadelphia. A November fellowship potluck is planned for all the participants to share their feelings about the day and ideas for future organizing, fundraising, and facilitating.
Although it has not been announced, we await a potential 4th annual Indigenous Peoples Day, when we might gather again for a celebration of song, dance, beautiful art, and traditional foods.