Me attending at the Indigenous Peoples Day event in Berkeley, CA

The Indigenous Peoples Day event in Berkeley, CA was one of the more interesting events I have been to, for lack of a better word. Although it wasn't quite as big of an event as I expected it to be, it was unique in that different tribal groups dressed in their own traditional tribal attire and bonded over their common identity as Native Americans. The whole event, interestingly, was centered about a circle--booths and spectators surrounded a circular area designated for the dancing and other main attractions. Perhaps the circle symbolically represents a never-ending cycle of life--the rebirth and death--or perhaps it serves as a representation of unity and community. Indigenous Peoples Day, to me, seems to encompass a greater significance for the future of the natives. This event serves as a reminder of the fact that the natives did have a civilized way of life and a developed society that was deeply connected the the natural and spiritual world, as was indicated by the tribal dancing and music. The arrival of Columbus and the European colonization of the Americas truly altered the way of life for the indigenous natives, for better or for worse depending on either perspective. Even today, the Native Americans unfortunately still lack a formal holiday or a day of remembrance. I feel like Columbus Day is more of a way to hide America’s darker parts of its history than it is to celebrate the achievements of the “great explorer.” But instead of mourning for their losses, the greater native American community seems to have adapted Columbus Day as a day to celebrate as their own--as a day to unite as a group, to celebrate their common heritage, and to strengthen their identities as Native Americans.

 

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