Indigenous people use drums at an Indigenous Peoples’ Day event in 2018

How to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the South End

by Amanda Ong

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is this Monday, Oct. 10, a day to recognize the Indigenous peoples on whose land Seattle was built, and to come together and celebrate them and their cultures. 

Seattle is built on the traditional land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish, with the city named after Chief Si’ahl, chief of the Duwamish Tribe. Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first recognized in Seattle in 2014 following the successful advocacy of a team of Native activists and allies. Prior to that, Indigenous organizers led marches and protests in downtown Seattle every Columbus Day between 2009 and 2014. 

We hope you enjoy the events that the Emerald has gathered on this Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but regardless of whether you can attend them or not, we hope Indigenous Peoples’ Day serves as a reminder of whose lands we occupy and how we might support our local Indigenous groups. The U.S. government has still failed to grant the Duwamish Tribe federal recognition and the benefits and acknowledgment that come with it. Beyond events, you can also consider celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day by signing this petition supporting federal recognition for the Duwamish Tribe and paying rent to Real Rent Duwamish


Indigenous Peoples’ Day

City Hall, 600 4th Ave.
Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, 5011 Bernie Whitebear Way
October 10, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

United Indians of All Tribes Foundation hosted the first Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration after Seattle announced the first Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2014. Now, it is hosting an Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration to honor Indigenous people this year on Oct. 10. After the celebratory march and gathering at City Hall, the celebration will move to Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, which will offer a free salmon dinner, cultural performers, and open mic. T-shirts and medicine bundles are available, and all are welcome. Activities for children and elders will be available earlier in the day, followed in the evening by an opening blessing, speaker elder Randy Lewis, and closing performances and prayers. 


Seattle Parks and Recreation

Oct. 10

Many Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities will be closed Monday, Oct. 10, in observance of the Indigenous Peoples’ Day holiday. This includes all recreation programs, community centers and teen centers, environmental learning centers, indoor swimming pools, Green Lake Small Craft Center, Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center, Seattle Japanese Garden, and Volunteer Park Conservatory. Parks, boat ramps, golf courses, and ranges will be open, and the Amy Yee Tennis Center will be open from 7:15 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Other Ways to Celebrate 

Visit the Spirit Returns 2.0 Exhibit

Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center, 4705 W. Marginal Way SW
Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Log House Museum, 3003 61st Ave. SW 
Fridays to Sundays, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

“Spirit Returns 2.0 – A Duwamish and Settler Story” opened last October in locations at the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center and at the Log House Museum. The exhibit celebrates the authentic stories of trade, managed and natural resources, and social hierarchy, as the Duwamish navigated relationships with the settlers who arrived in the 1850s. It is a testament to the culture and works of the Duwamish and to their role in Seattle as we know it today. Both locations also offer many handcrafted Duwamish-made goods in their stores.

The exhibit is open at both locations, and is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center, located at 4705 W. Marginal Way SW, and the Log House Museum from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, located at 3003 61st Ave. SW. 

Stand With the Duwamish to Restore Federal Acknowledgement

Restore the rights the Duwamish tribe is owed by signing this petition supporting their federal recognition, and read more on its website about why this recognition is not only crucial for their peoples, but far past due. 

Real Rent Duwamish

Consider paying rent to Real Rent Duwamish. Real Rent Duwamish calls on people who live and work in Seattle to make rent payments to the Duwamish Tribe. Though we live on Duwamish land, the tribe still needs to be justly compensated for their land, resources, and livelihood. 

By paying rent, Seattle’s citizens can begin to amend this by acknowledging the dues we hold to the land we are seated on. All funds go directly to Duwamish Tribal Services (DTS) to support the revival of Duwamish culture and the vitality of the Duwamish Tribe. Pay rent on the Real Rent Duwamish website. 

Donate to or Volunteer at the Chief Seattle Club

Chief Seattle Club is a Native-led housing and human services agency based in Seattle. By leading with Native values, the Chief Seattle Club believes we can create a world without houselessness, an issue that disproportionately affects Native peoples across Seattle as one of colonization’s many costs to the Indigenous.

Consider donating to or volunteering with the Chief Seattle Club through its website. 

Utilize the Duwamish Tribe’s Land Acknowledgment and Education Recommendations

The Duwamish Tribe’s website offers a plethora of resources to help educate yourself on the history of the Duwamish Tribe, their ways of life, and their struggle for recognition. Their resources include everything from oral testimonies, recipe videos, poems, and songs, to academic essays and curriculum, books, maps, and films.

The Duwamish Tribe also offers a suggested land acknowledgment sample for those in the Seattle area to use, with contextual information about the history and meaning for land acknowledgements to Indigenous peoples. 

Read Indigenous Authors at The Seattle Public Library 

The library has a selection of fiction, nonfiction, teen, and children’s literature by Indigenous authors, as well as a curation of digital and streaming music.

Amanda Ong (she/her) is a Chinese American writer from California. She is currently a master’s candidate at the University of Washington Museology program and graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with degrees in creative writing and ethnicity and race studies.

📸 Featured Image: There are several events happening throughout Seattle to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Photo of an Indigenous Peoples’ Day event in 2018. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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