On Wednesday, January 22, Tommy Orange will join us in Philadelphia for the One Book, One Philadelphia Kickoff, which launches eight weeks of more than 130 events exploring the themes in his novel There There.
Below are some featured events that you definitely won’t want to miss:
On Wednesday, January 29, the Rosenbach Museum will host an archive dive into their Native American collections with the intention of reinterpreting history and its dominant narratives. We’ll turn the pages of preserved rare books and manuscripts written by Indigenous peoples and early printed U.S. government documents, while discussing erasure and authorship to ask the important questions: Who is telling this story? What is being left out? What other stories need to be heard?
In collaboration with the Counter Narrative Society, "Me Escuchas/Can you hear me?" is a series of three Saturday workshops that will explore experiences of Indigenous erasure here in Lenapehoking/Philadelphia. These fishbowl dialogues will take place at libraries around the city on February 1, February 22, and March 14, centering Lenape, Taino, Mexica, and pan-Indigenous voices. These workshops will provide opportunities for non-Natives to hear personal stories and learn how to help support the existence of Indigenous futures.
How does food intersect with culture, tradition, history, and power? How do the kitchens of our childhoods impact our memories, well-being, and daily lives? Join us on Tuesday, February 11 at Parkway Central Library for a panel discussion on food and community that will consider these questions through an Indigenous lens.
Paul Robeson House and Museum and Indigenous 215 are collaborating to host a conversation on Saturday, February 15 at Blackwell Regional Library. At We Must Act: Black and Indigenous Freedom Dreaming, attendees will hear Black and Native scholars and activists talk about the local history of relationships between the Black Liberation and Native Sovereignty movements. Panelists will address the ongoing impacts of settler colonialism and its entanglement with anti-Black racism, and what it means to live a life that is answerable to these conditions.
What are the personal and public imprints of occupation—of land, language, body? Head back to the Rosenbach Museum on Sunday, March 1 for a guided creative writing workshop with Dr. Norma Cantu, whose work focuses on borders and boundaries. We’ll look at the Rosenbach’s original copies of broken U.S. government treaties alongside poetry from Whereas, Oglala Lakota poet Layli Long Soldier’s award-winning book.
Violence as a lasting impact of injustice and lifelong trauma is at the center of There There. On Wednesday, March 4 we will host Bearing Witness, a forum about the lived effects of gun violence in Philadelphia, featuring a panel of survivors who are working to help their communities move forward. Students are especially encouraged to come to this event, which will open with readings from the Mighty Writers Teen Scholars group, to participate in reflection on healing and preventing gun violence. The forum will include a resource fair with organizations and services that support survivors.
Tommy Orange reminds us in his prologue that the first Thanksgiving meal in 1621 was not actually one of friendship, but a duplicitous land deal. On Wednesday, March 11 at Cobbs Creek Library, a very special free family-style dinner will center dishes from the Americas’ Indigenous food traditions, catered by the chefs at El Merkury, Poi Dog Philly and South Philly Barbacoa. A conversation will be guided by thoughts on community-building in Lenapehoking past, present, and future.
The Grand Finale of the One Book, One Philadelphia 2020 season on Wednesday, March 18 is not to be missed!! Curated by We Are the Seeds, an organization led by Indigenous women who lift up the voices of Indigenous artists, the Finale will be a polyphonic presentation of 8 incredible local artists followed by a conversation about their creative practices, traditions, and how they stay connected to their roots while living in Philly.
There is so much more, including events with the Fabric Workshop and Museum, the People's Emergency Center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, First Person Arts, the Drexel Writers Room, the Penn Museum, and plenty of other incredible partners. And none of these events can happen without you! We can't wait to see you there.