The march through Old Town on Oct. 11, 2021.
This Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Malachi Daw (Diné) said Old Town was a place his ancestors passed through during forced relocation by the U.S. government. “We lost a lot of relatives in that river, the Rio Grande. They were taken through here, being forced from our homelands, from our mothers, from our fathers and grandfathers, everyone. And seeing this in Old Town here, remembering the insults, the taunts, the anger, the violence against our people, where we couldn’t defend ourselves or do nothing.”
All that was different for Daw as the group brought people together to celebrate everything Indigenous.
(Photo by Sharon Chischilly for Source NM)
Across New Mexico, people from tribal communities gathered yesterday to celebrate everything Native. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is every second Monday of October in the state.
“Having all of these people joined together to reclaim a holiday that was that was based off of genocide and rape … it’s a very healing feeling, seeing everyone come together,” Jaycie Begay said. Begay (Diné, Santa Clara and Northern Ute) joined the Red Nation rally and march in Old Town Albuquerque.
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In 2015, the Red Nation led a coalition to abolish the previous federal holiday and institute instead Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Albuquerque. In 2019, it went statewide.
Mayor Tim Keller led festivities in Downtown Albuquerque, where he signed a resolution acknowledging the city’s history with federal Indian boarding school policies. The event concluded with a film highlighting the endemic issue of missing and murdered Indigenous people.
In Santa Fe, the big event was miles away from the historic Plaza on the Southside, where the Three Sisters Collective hosted a bash with arts, music and food.
News photographer Sharon Chischilly and reporter Shaun Griswold spent the day talking to people and gathering images for this Source NM photo essay documenting Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Albuquerque. Reporters Patrick Lohmann and Austin Fisher also contributed images and reporting from Santa Fe.
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Shaun Griswold is a journalist in Albuquerque. He is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, and grew up in Albuquerque and Gallup. He brings a decade of print and broadcast news experience. Most recently he covered Indigenous affairs with New Mexico In Depth. Shaun reports on issues important to Native Americans in urban and tribal communities throughout the state, including education and child welfare.