Honoring Indigenous Peoples' Day

By Emily S. RSS Mon, October 2, 2023

The Free Library is proud to honor Indigenous Peoples' Day, celebrated on Monday, October 9, 2023. Philadelphia is now one of the over 100 cities that have chosen to celebrate the holiday in lieu of Columbus Day.

The official celebration, hosted by the Indigenous-led non-profit IPD Philly at the historic Shackamaxon (Penn Treaty) Park, “provides space for all Indigenous communities in the city to shed light on the strength of our people from 530 years of resistance.” Organizers and participants come together for an all-day celebration of both traditional and contemporary elements of Indigenous cultures. Enjoy food, music, art, and dance, along with the opportunity to create new community connections. One initiative with that goal in mind is the Lenape Travel Fund, a fundraising effort collecting donations to help some of the people whose ancestors belonged to this land return to take part in the day.

This year’s celebration will include a special performance from the Sky Dancers, an ensemble of performers of different ages from the Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario Canada, founded by the late Howard Sky in 1946 and still sharing their rich culture to this day. For a full list of performers, speakers, and vendors, see IPD Philly’s press release. For those who cannot attend in person, the event will also be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube, in collaboration with PhillyCAM.

This will be the event’s third anniversary as an official city holiday, as declared by Mayor Jim Kenney in 2020, a part of Pathways to Reform, Transformation, and Reconciliation, an effort towards a more equitable Philadelphia that we do hope continues.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day Philly is a pay-as-you-wish event, with a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children and elders, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. All are welcome to share in this beautiful honoring of “the strengths and history of the First Peoples of Americas.” To stay tuned to their other programs, efforts, research, and news, subscribe to IPD’s quarterly newsletter, featuring current-day takes on Indigenous issues, suggested reads, virtual learning opportunities, and upcoming events. 

For more opportunities to learn, explore, and celebrate Indigenous history around the city, check out Visit Philly’s Guide to Indigenous Peoples’ Day Weekend.


Celebrate from home with the Free Library

Native American Heritage – Online Activity Adventure on Beanstack

From October 15 – November 15, online participants in the Fall Into Reading Challenge can join this themed mini-challenge to learn about the First Nations of this continent and some history close to home! Adventure through Lenapehoking, explore Turtle Island, and learn new things along the way. Sign up online.   

Check out a book from your neighborhood library! 

Try a title from one of our booklists:

Wishing you a wonderful Indigenous Peoples' Day from the Free Library!

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