Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day

By Wade Sheldon, Tulalip News

In commemoration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the Tulalip Tribes hosted a heartfelt dinner and coastal jam on Monday, October 9, at the Gathering Hall. Several hundred individuals gathered to honor and celebrate our Native traditions, fostering a deep spiritual connection that breathes life into our cultural heritage.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day emerged as a profound shift from the previously observed Columbus Day, marking a fundamental change in how we honor and acknowledge the original inhabitants of this land. This transformation represents a collective recognition of the enduring resilience and rich cultural heritage of Native Americans who have called North America home for millennia. It’s a day that seeks to celebrate their unique contributions, honor their enduring traditions, and acknowledge the profound history of Indigenous peoples, emphasizing a more inclusive and accurate narrative of the past.

When asked what Indigenous People’s Day means to you, Tulalip tribal member Faith Valencia said, “What Indigenous Peoples Day means to me is mostly our community coming together for something that’s not sad or another reminder of a sad event. It’s a day to be ourselves. Learn our culture, be able to sing our songs, do our dance, and hang out with our family.”

“Indigenous Peoples’ Day means we are celebrating our ancestors and how they took care of the land, learned how to survive, and helped one another,” Tulalip Tribal Elder Loretta Tom said. “It’s about how strong our native heritage is and the resilience it took to overcome the many atrocities they faced so that we could be here. It’s important to show the young ones how we gather, carry our tradition, and show what being Native is all about. It’s not just a gathering to have fun, but also to teach the young how to carry on when not here.”

“To me, it’s just embracing your culture and being able to welcome everyone into one space and show what we represent and what we are about,” Tulalip tribal member Krislyn Parks said. “We used to have ceremonies like this every day, and we need to bring back those moments and show that we can still do what our ancestors did back in the day. I’m excited that a lot of people are out in their regalia showing out. It’s exciting to see what we have coming for the future.”

Bradley Paul William, dancer, and Tulalip tribal member, had this to say, “What Indigenous Peoples’ Day means to me is all of us gathering around to do our cultural and traditional things. It also means honoring our ancestors, doing what they couldn’t do, and keeping our culture alive.”