An ancient Maidu riverside ceremony called “Calling Back the Salmon” is one highlight of the upcoming 20th annual Indigenous Peoples Days. 
An ancient Maidu riverside ceremony called “Calling Back the Salmon” is one highlight of the upcoming 20th annual Indigenous Peoples Days, a five-day celebration of native history and culture hosted by the Tsi Akim Maidu and the Yuba County Water Agency, with support from KVMR radio, on October 5-9, 2017.  On Friday, Oct. 6th at 6pm, Thoz Womenz and youth dancers RISE will sing, drum and dance, as part of IPD’s downtown Nevada City Opening.

The public is invited to the free event at Kulu, the Maidu name for Sycamore Ranch Park located on the south Yuba River. Specific activities include a Sunrise Ceremony, the Roberto Garcia Spirit Run, the California Bears Ceremony, a community feast, two days of youth activities featuring Rick Berry and the Fox Walkers with Tribal Elders, storytelling, live music, the Descendants Circle, Women’s Circle and Veteran’s Circle, and camping on the Yuba River at the Kulu park.

Spiritual Elder Fred Coyote Downey of the Round Valley reservation will lead ceremonies over the weekend.

Songs will be offered by NAMMY award winning singer/songwriter Bear Fox, founder of Ahkwesasne Women Singers – a group that has worked since 1999 to protect and preserve the Kanienkeha (Mohawk) language, customs, stories, and oral traditions that are passed down from grandmother to grand-daughter.

Twenty years ago, tribal members held a candlelight vigil on Broad Street, Nevada City, to protest Columbus Day. At the same time, two blocks away, also in reaction to Columbus Day, volunteer broadcasters at KVMR Community Radio organized a day of programming to honor native peoples. Tribal members and their local community supporters soon joined together. Now, twenty years later, the event has grown to five days of celebration of native history and culture.

The tribe, with native and non-native supporters, continue to educate the public about the historic trauma of the genocide since the Gold Rush, when Maidu were force marched across the Sacramento Valley and over 99% of the Maidu people died. At IPD, native and non-native people try to understand the ongoing impact of these ‘soul wounds,’ and to honor and respect native culture.

Over the last twenty years, a variety of tribal members from around the world, as well as noted native activists, have joined the Maidu in this celebration. The local IPD celebration has attracted Maori healers from New Zealand, natives from Hawaii and Peru, Hopi from Arizona, indigenous peoples from Russia and Africa and Sammi from northern Europe.

John Trudell, Russell Means, Fred Downey (Coyote), Dennis Banks, native activists of AIM have reunited at previous IPD celebrations. Every year, the Descendants Circle attracts family members of historic native figures who gather to honor their ancestors.

The language of the Tsi Akim, almost extinct, was recently revived and taught by a Tsi Akim member, who taught native and non-natives the language; at IPD, students have performed skits in that Maidu dialect. A bark house in honor of the late Farrell Cunnigham, being built this year, will be dedicated to him at IPD’s Opening, on Thursday, Oct 5th, 9:00am, at KULU.

The twentieth annual Indigenous Peoples Days, an organic local effort, is part of a national process of shifting focus away from Columbus Day and the history of white conquest, to recognize and heal from the trauma of native history, and to honor and celebrate native culture. This event is open to all ages and all cultures.  Please bring a dish to share for our Saturday and Sunday potluck feasts.