In place of Columbus Day, Seattle City Council rightly recognizes the first Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day, which honors Native cultures and communities in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. From special events to continuing exhibitions, there are many ways to discover local tribal traditions, see Native artwork and performances, and learn about current issues faced by Native communities during the week of October 14 and beyond. See them all below, and find even more events on our community calendar.
A Colonizer Walks Into A Bar: Vol 3
This Indigenous comedy showcase will feature mostly Northwest-based Native comics Howie Echo-Hawk, Ruby Stacey, Darren McGill, and El Sanchez. Stay on for an after-party.
Blue Moon Tavern, University District
Daybreak Star Center Indigenous Peoples’ Day
This year, the theme of Daybreak Star Center's annual Indigenous Peoples' Day celebration is "Love Knows Know Borders," featuring a rally and march downtown followed by speeches, Native performances, and a community dinner.
Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, Magnolia
Highline Indigenous Peoples' Day
In keeping with their annual tradition, Highline will recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day with a day of lectures culminating in a panel discussion titled "Indigenizing Spaces: Exploring Indigeneity Beyond Borders."
Highline Community College, Des Moines
Indigenous Peoples Day: Ways Of the Ancient Weaving Our Future
The Squaxin Island Nation will host an evening of prayers, blessings, and stories.
Percival Landing Park, Olympia
Our Places, Our Stories: Indigenous Peoples Day Story Slam
Members of the Seattle Indigenous community (and their friends) are invited to share stories based on the theme "Our Places, Our Stories."
The Collective, South Lake Union
OCTOBER 17-NOVEMBER 16PERFORMANCE
The Thanksgiving Play
Lakota playwright Larissa FastHorse's comedy addresses the cognitive dissonance that results when "terminally 'woke'" Americans try to square the colonial ideology behind Thanksgiving with the reality of genocide against Native people. When teaching artists try to stage a Thanksgiving pageant, they end up wrestling with their white guilt. Of the play's opening run at Playwrights Horizons, New York Times critic Jesse Green wrote: "Ms. FastHorse [...] is aiming for a takedown of American mythology — white American mythology, that is. The national narcissism, bordering on sociopathy, that could turn theft and genocide into a feel-good feast is her play’s point of entry."
Seattle Public Theater, Green Lake
City Council Candidate Forum: The Urban Indian Experience and What a Green New Deal Means for Seattle
This City Council forum will address the effects of the climate crisis on local Native communities and what environmental policy reform in Washington State would (or should) look like.
KEXP, Seattle Center
Natalie Ball: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Snake
Natalie Ball (Klamath) was last year's winner of the prestigious Betty Bowen Award, which means she gets $15,000 and a solo show at SAM. Cool! Ball makes sculptures out of found objects, cloth, and other unusual materials, refashioning perceptions of Native American history. When she showed work at METHOD in August 2018, Stranger contributor Emily Pothast called her pieces "enigmatic, potent, and visually stunning."
Seattle Art Museum, Downtown
Native Portraiture: Power and Perception
This exhibit invites you to contemplate structural oppression and appropriation of Native subjects in portraits by non-Native people, as well as Native artists' reflections and reworking of this stereotypical iconography.
Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma
Raven Skyriver and Preston Singletary
This collaborative show will feature the work of two Tlingit glass artists who approach the medium from different points of view. Raven Skyriver’s work is more in tune with the rhythm of ecosystems and animal life, while Preston Singletary draws from narrative mythology and traditional objects. Skyriver will be exhibiting glass sea creatures from both oceans and rivers; Singletary will be presenting works on paper, glass, and bronze depicting shamanic implements, woven hats and baskets, and legendary characters in his distinct style. Put simply, this will be good! JASMYNE KEIMIG
Stonington Gallery, Pioneer Square
Translations: An Exploration of Glass by Northwest Native Carvers and Weavers
This glassworks show features pieces made in the Museum of Glass's hot shop by family members of "three of the Pillars of the Evergreen Longhouse"—Mary Ellen Hillaire (Lummi), Gerald Miller (Skokomish), and Hazel Pete (Chehalis)—with the aid of Dan and Raya Friday. Old weaving and carving treasures from the families' collections are juxtaposed with the new glass interpretations of baskets, sculptures, and bentwood boxes.
Museum of Glass, Tacoma
You Are on Indigenous Land: Places/Displaces
Traditional and contemporary art of Native peoples reflects matters of land, ancestry, and kinship through modern forms and handicrafts like basketry and weaving. Go for the artists' mastery of their media, but also for a reminder of the deep roots of pre-Western cultures and the urgency of sovereignty and environmental issues.
Seattle Art Museum, Downtown