The 9th Annual Philly Indigenous Peoples Day at Belmont Plateau

On October 5th, 2019 Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr and State Senator Sharif Street are Co-Sponsoring The 9th Annual Philly Indigenous Peoples Day at Belmont Plateau. This will be a festival to celebrate and honor the American Indians who are the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and all Indigenous Peoples around the world. Indigenous Peoples Day is nothing new; in the last decade, American Indian activists in rural and urban communities across the country have led tremendous successful campaigns to get more
than 53 cities to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day.

In August of 2011, a small group of American Indian activists from West, South West and North Philadelphia including the Southeastern Cherokee Confederacy of Philadelphia took action. They decided to work with then Former State Representative Vanessa Lowery Brown who is American Indian & Black and current Fourth District Councilman, Curtis Jones, Jr to establish the first Philly Indigenous Peoples Day. This partnership led to Philadelphia City Council unanimously passing Resolution 110641, “Declaring the first Saturday of October 8, 2011, as Indigenous Peoples Day and every first Saturday of October thereafter.” They were also successful in getting an Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution passed in the Pennsylvania House under Resolution No. 861. For American Indians or Indigenous Peoples, it’s just not about renaming a day. They are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral knowledge, ethnic identity as the basis of their self-determination.

Many residents in the City don’t know that the American Indian influences that can be seen daily throughout our City. The Lenape- who have lived in Coaquonnock, now known as the City of Philadelphia have called this place home for over 20,000 years. The Lenape like other American Indians developed a highly advanced agricultural system that is still practiced in our nation’s farming system, cultivating crops from potatoes, tomatoes, squash, beans, chocolate, corn, pumpkins, sugarcane among many others. These communities continue to thrive and have left their mark through the names of our neighborhoods, rivers and streets like Manayunk, Alleghany, Wissahickon, Passyunk, Susquehanna and especially Kingsessing in Southwest Philadelphia. Even Woodland Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia follows the same path that the Lenape did then before the Swedish arrived.

Indigenous Peoples Day commemorates the resilience of American Indians including the more than 9,000 who live here. On October 5th, from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Belmont Plateau, come and enjoy the cultural richness and diversity of the 9th Annual Philly Indigenous Peoples Day. There will be traditional dancing, performances by notable musicians, horse rides as well as cultural activities for the whole family! For more information Contact Vanessa Lowery Brown: vanessalowerybrown@gmail.com

Written by Shafiyq Ali

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