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Cities and towns across Massachusetts are joining a national movement to start celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of October. Cultural Survival has joined a coalition of groups led by Indigenous Peoples Day MA to successfully lobby for a name changes across Massachusetts. 

In Cambridge, MA, our organization's hometown, the Cambridge City Council voted unanimously to change the name.  In 2018, they were followed by the cities of Brookline and Somerville, joining Amherst, MA and Northampton, MA.  A bill to establish Indigenous Peoples Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts H.3665 is currently in the state legislature.

The celebration of Columbus Day for the past century in the U.S. has perpetuated a narrative that glorifies a Eurocentric worldview, while allowing non Natives to ignore a history of violence and oppression towards Indigenous Peoples. We believe it is important to hear the other side of the story-- the Indigenous side-- because there is danger in learning only about the side of history that makes heroes of colonizers, and erases those who were colonized, and to celebrate the heritage, diversity, and resilience of Indigenous Peoples today. 

Below is a calendar of public events in celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day across Massachusetts. We invite you to help the movement grow by joining in a celebration!

Saturday, October 12–Monday, October 14

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology-  Indigenous People's Day Gallery Activity

Enrich your museum visit by listening to an evocative playlist of contemporary poems by Native American authors. Wander freely across the first-floor galleries to see where the poems take you. Borrow a free audio player from the front desk.

Native American Poets Playlist + Poems in the Gallery

Saturday, October 12–Monday, October 14, 9:00 am–5:00 pm


Monday, October 14

Indigenous Peoples' Day at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Enjoy free admission and special events at the MFA for Indigenous Peoples’ Day—and the Fenway Alliance’s 18th annual Opening Our Doors Day. Join tours and discussions in the galleries, check out music and dance, and drop in on engaging art-making activities and demonstrations—all led by Native educators and artists. Co-created and presented in partnership with Akomawt Educational Initiative and Jonathan James-Perry, Tribal Citizen of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Nation.   10:00AM-5:00PM  More info. 

Indigenous Peoples' Day at the Isabella Gardner Museum, Boston

This Indigenous Peoples' Day, the Gardner Museum is honored to collaborate with choreographer and Neighborhood Salon Luminary Marsha Parrilla of Danza Orgánica to present local Indigenous artists from the Massachusett, Nipmuc, Mashpee Wampanoag, and Aquinnah Wampanoag tribes.

The theme for the day is “Abundant Voices,” emphasizing the necessary perspectives and incredible work of these creative leaders. Enjoy hands-on art making, interactive performance, storytelling, a special performance from Gardner Museum Choreographers in Residence All Ready with local youth performers and more. Explore additional hands-on activities and performances organized by The Fenway Alliance throughout the day across the street from the Gardner Museum in beautiful Evans Way Park. 10:00AM-4:00PM
More info

#StandWithMashpee Walk-a-thon at Four Winds School, Gill, MA

After a half day of classes in the morning of October 14th, 2019, Four Winds School will be hosting our first ever Walk-a-thon fundraising event from 1:30 to 5:30pm. This event is a student-initiated fundraiser to help benefit Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, who are the descendants of the first Native Americans that the Pilgrims interacted with upon their arrival in the 1620s and were the topic of study in humanities class last year.  1:30-5:30PM   More info

Science and Cooking Lecture series at “Hominy and Posole: The Science of Native American Cooking”    
At Science Center Lecture Hall C, Harvard University, 7:00pm,  with Chef Freddy Bitsoie (@chef_fjbits), FJBits Concepts, 2013 winner of the Native Chef Competition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.  More info  

Brookline Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration


Tufts University Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration

Come join for our 4th annual Indigenous Peoples' Day Celebration. Featured will be Indigenous speakers, singers, dancers, and food!  Academic Quad, Tufts University, Medford, MA, 4:00 PM.   More info

Harvard University Indigenous Peoples Day

Members of the Harvard and Greater Boston community are invited to join Native Americans at Harvard College (NAHC) in celebration of the resilience of Indigenous peoples here and across the world.  Performances will showcase the diversity of Indigenous identities present here at Harvard and across Greater Boston as we work toward University-wide recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day. All identities are welcome to participate, and food will be provided.  Performances will begin in front of Matthews Hall at 2 PM and will transition to Ticknor Lounge at 4 PM. RSVP at this facebook link.

Wampanoag Perspectives on Land: Acknowledging Indigenous Space

Hosted by the Fruitlands Museum and The Trustees

Join Elizabeth James-Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag) on Indigenous Peoples' Day at Fruitlands Museum as she presents "Wampanoag Perspectives on the Land: Acknowledging Indigenous Space." Elizabeth James-Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag) is a multi-medium traditional and contemporary artist, with specialties in wampum shell carving and reviving natural dye techniques for her finger-woven sashes, bags, and baskets. Her old-style wampum was published in the publication Native New England at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, and was exhibited at PEM’s acclaimed Native Fashion Now exhibition, curated by Karen Kramer. James-Perry has trained at the Rhode Island School of Design, Shoals Marine Lab, and she holds a degree in Marine Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and has earned state and national awards at the annual Heard Museum Art Show; the 2014 Traditional Arts Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Perry has conducted research at many museum archives and was consulted by Amherst University Professor Lisa Brooks on her 2018 publication, Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War. She was employed for the last decade in the Aquinnah Tribal Historic Preservation Department.
More info.  2:00PM – 3:00PM


Indigenous Peoples Day Children and Family Event in Wellesley, MA

11:00AM-1:15PM at Schofield Elementary School • 27 Cedar Street, Wellesley, MA 02481

Please join the World of Wellesley in honoring Indigenous Peoples Day with a children and family event that will explore Indigenous history, culture and traditions. Professional educator Claudia Fox Tree, M.Ed. (Arawak/Yurumein), will lead our engagement together with a presentation centered on Native American (First Nations People) identity, culture, and history. Indigenous food options and pizza will be served. Opening ceremony begins at 11:00 AM. FREE and open to the public. We as people who reside, work, and engage in Wellesley acknowledge this town is located on the traditional territory of the Massachusett People.   More info


Indigenous Resistance and Resilience in 1670s Lowell Tour
Lowell National Historical Park, 1:00PM – 2:30 PM

In 1892 and 1893, America was busy celebrating the 400th anniversary of the landing of Columbus in the Americas, and Lowell was teeming with parades, sermons, and lectures delivered in his honor. Two hundred years before the great industrial city of Lowell sprung up, in the 1670s, the Penacook people were actively challenging the invasion of their homeland in the Merrimack Valley by land-hungry English settlers. This 90 minute walking tour explores how Indigenous people living in greater Lowell in the 1670s confronted and resisted colonialism through combat, and through their command of the Algonquian and English language. The walk will also discuss how nineteenth century Lowellians selectively remembered and celebrated their past, and what implications that has for our understanding of Lowell’s past.

This free walk begins at the Visitor Center (246 Market Street) at 1 p.m. on Monday, October 14th. Free parking is available at 304 Dutton Street. Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes.More info


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Art Installation -  Doorways to Healing: Native women of greater Boston convey their journeys as survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

In honor of Indigenous Peoples Day, visit the lobby of Cambridge City Hall during business hours starting October 16th to view an art installation on loan from the North American Indian Center of Boston. The exhibit features painted doors expressing transition from a period of pain to one of healing. This installation provides a physical presence for these women's experiences,  too often overlooked by mainstream society. Their experiences are contextualized within the broader epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women across the US and Canada. 

Friday, October 18, 2019


Film Screening:  “500 Years: Life in Resistance”  at Cambridge City Hall, 5:30pm

Hosted by Cultural Survival. 5:30pm, Cambridge City Hall.

From a historic genocide trial and the organized defense of the land to the overthrow of a corrupt President, 500 Years tells a sweeping story of resistance in Guatemala's recent history through the actions and perspectives of the majority Indigenous Mayan population, who now stand poised to reimagine their society. Official Selection of 2017 Sundance Film Festival.  More info

Cypher at City Hall Hip Hop Performance, 7:30pm

In celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day and the end of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), the Office of the Mayor invited Cambridge Hip-Hop Collective to host a cypher on the steps of Cambridge City Hall. Join for live hip hop performances by local artists and food and drink by food truck  Pull Up Grand LLC.  More info


Thursday, October 24, 6:30-8:30pm

National Indigenous Peoples' Month Lecture with Joan Naviyuk Kane
Main Library, Lecture Hall

Join us for a special lecture commemorating National Indigenous Peoples' Month with author Joan Naviyuk Kane. Joan Naviyuk Kane is Inupiaq with family from King Island (Ugiuvak) and Mary’s Igloo, Alaska. She is the author of seven collections of poetry and prose, most recently Another Bright Departure (2019). She is the 2019-2020 Hilles Bush Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and in 2018 was the first indigenous recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry. She is on the faculty of the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Not in Massachusetts? Check out a few events across the country:


October 13-14th, 2019
New York City    
5th Annual Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration        

Harlem River Field in front of Icahn Stadium Randall’s Island, Harlem, NYC
*Free parking available When: October 13th & 14th, 2019
Sunday, October 13th, 11am - Late & Monday October 14th, 7am to 2 pm

Special Guests (including, but not limited to): POTUS Candidate Mark Charles, Pua Case, Ladonna Brave Bull, Quese IMC, Brother Mikey, & Kasibahagua Taino Cultural Society.
Learn More: 

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