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The Citizen Recommends: Indigenous Peoples Day

Monday we celebrate the fairy tale that is Columbus. Saturday, let’s celebrate our real origins

Monday is that time-sullied tradition known as Columbus Day, a popular celebration of Italian heritage that would be better if divorced from the Italian whose name it bears. Last year around this time, I wrote an Idea We Should Steal advocating for an end to the holiday here, and an elevation of both Indigenous Peoples Day and a giant Italian American festival that has nothing to do with Columbus. Cities around the country have done some version of this. Philly, though, is a long way away from such symbolic gestures.

But we do have our own Indigenous Peoples Day, the first Saturday of every October, that is now in its 7th year. It’s a celebration of the more than 4,000 native people living in the city, and the riches their ancestors gave us—with dancing, costumes, food and crafts from several different cultures.

This year’s party on Saturday, organized as always by Ollin Yoliztli Calmeca, is at Bartram’s Garden, where visitors can join the fun, and also explore the gardens and canoe on the river.

Take a look at this for a glimpse of what you’ll see there (starts in earnest around the three minute mark):

This is not a protest, or an argument—so there’s no need for protestations or arguments. It’s a festival—and everyone is invited.

Saturday October 7th, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with the grand entrance at noon, free, Bartram’s Garden, 5400 Lindbergh Boulevard.

Header photo: Solomon Williams II

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