Where to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day 2020 in Seattle

Seattle Reads with Tommy Orange, a Khu.éex' Concert, and More Options for October
October 7, 2020
The Daybreak Star Center's Indigenous Peoples' Day celebration is always one of Seattle's biggest. This year's virtual edition will include performances from drummers, singers, dancers, and more. (JONATHAN H LEE)

Seattle is one of over 100 cities in the US that has rightly reclaimed the second Monday in October, formerly Columbus Day, as Indigenous Peoples' Day—a correction that took well over 200 years. With social distancing in mind this year, local Native authors, musicians, and cultural centers are putting on events throughout the month, all of which will take place online or in otherwise COVID-safe conditions. Scroll on for details on virtual Seattle Public Library programming like a Seattle Reads event with Tommy Orange, the Washington State History Museum's In the Spirit closing celebration, the Always Indigenous speaker series, and more options. 

OCTOBER 9-25

FILM

Indigenous Showcase: malni - towards the ocean, towards the shore
Spoken mostly in their native chinuk wawa, Sweetwater Sahme and Jordan Merciers contemplate their own ideas of death and rebirth in Ferndale, Washington-born director Sky Hopinka's film. See it here as part of Longhouse Media's Indigenous Showcase.

OCTOBER 10

COMMUNITY

Duwamish Tribe Virtual Gala and Native Art Auction
Duwamish Tribal members and friends will treat you to an evening of songs, dances, and other performances during an online auction where you can bid on locally made Native art.

Indigenous Peoples Day Storytelling
Artists Roger Fernandes (a member of the Lower Elwha Band of the S'Klallam Indians) and Fern Renville (a citizen of the Sisseton/Wahpeton Tribe of South Dakota) will share stories about Shoreline's indigenous history and culture.

OCTOBER 12

COMMUNITY

Daybreak Star Virtual Indigenous Peoples' Day
The Gathered in this Place Two-Spirit Drum Group, Haida Heritage, Robert Upham, and many others will bring you an afternoon of livestreamed performances on Indigenous Peoples' Day, courtesy of Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center.

Indigenous Peoples Day & Coming Out Day
Celebrate intersecting identities at this Indigenous Peoples' Day and National Coming Out Day celebration of songs and stories on Zoom, courtesy of Evergreen State College.

READINGS & TALKS

A Conversation About Indigenous Identity & Solidarity Today
Alaska Native Tlingit tribal member Alyssa London will share passages from her new children's book, The Journey of the Freckled Indian: A Tlingit Culture Story, alongside special guests Monica Ricker-Bolter (whose illustrations are featured in the book), Northwest formline artist Preston Singletary, and Chicago Field Museum's Debra Yepa-Pappan.

OCTOBER 14

MUSIC

An Evening With Khu.Eex'
Headed up by Tlingit bassist/vocalist (and lauded glass artist) Preston Singletary, Khu.éex' (pronounced Koo-eex) are a supergroup composed largely of indigenous poets and musicians. Beginning as a chance meeting between Singletary and legendary funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell (Parliament-Funkadelic, Talking Heads), Khu.éex' combine far-out funk and jazz with spoken word and Great Native Northwest storytelling to present a contemporary interpretation of their culture to the world. Their most recent EP Héen ("water" in Tlingit) deals with the importance of water to indigenous communities across the country. JASMYNE KEIMIG

OCTOBER 17

READINGS & TALKS

Seattle Reads: Tommy Orange
Every year, SPL puts on a Seattle Reads program, through which the entire city is invited to read and discuss a single book, and there are accompanying events and a talk from the featured author. For this year's event, which was originally scheduled for May, they've chosen PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author Tommy Orange's There There. Rich Smith called the book "completely absorbing, character-rich, kinda funny, mostly pretty sad, definitely existentially fraught, fast-paced-but-not-really-"propulsive"-until-the-end."

OCTOBER 19-23

COMMUNITY

Always Indigenous Lunch Series
Chief Seattle Club will celebrate 50 years of serving the local Native homeless community with daily fundraising activities online, like a talk on wellness and recovery with Apsaalooke Nation dancer and hip-hop artist Supaman (Oct 19), a conversation titled "A Day in the Life at Chief Seattle Club" (Oct 20), a reading with US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo (Oct 21), a chat with job rehabilitation program Native Works on their "seed to table" social enterprise Sovereignty Farm (Oct 22), and the presentation of the Stiffarm Leadership Award and Tricia Trainer Spirit Award (Oct 23) honoring Chief Seattle Club members.

OCTOBER 20

READINGS & TALKS

Jill and Sasha LaPointe Discuss Vi Hilbert's 'Haboo'
Sister storytelling duo Jill and Sasha LaPointe will share their re-released edition of Vi Hilbert’s Haboo, a collection of stories recounting legends of the Lushootseed-speaking people of Puget Sound. 

THROUGH OCTOBER 25

VISUAL ART

In the Spirit Contemporary Native Arts Virtual Exhibition
For the 15th year, Native artists showcase their work at the In the Spirit contemporary Native arts exhibition, which will offer prizes in categories including Best of Show, Honoring the Northwest, and People's Choice. You can view this year's virtual event at any time to see work by Jim Stritzel, Chholing Taha, RYAN! Feddersen, Peter Boome, and others. Don't miss a closing celebration with local supergroup Khu.éex' on October 17.

OCTOBER 27

READINGS & TALKS

A Virtual Event with Chenoa and Keith Egawa, 'The Whale Child'
Brother-sister writing team Chenoa and Keith Egawa will read their story about a young whale who becomes a human boy in order to help people on land understand the environmental danger facing oceans around the world. 

THROUGH OCTOBER 31

VISUAL ART

Northwest Native Art Glass: Dan Friday, Preston Singletary, Raven Skyriver
Contemporary Northwest Indigenous art and the studio glass movement collide in this group show featuring work by celebrated local glass artists Dan Friday (Lummi), Preston Singletary (Tlingit), and Raven Skyriver (Tlingit).