This year to mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day the American Indian College Fund will host an online concert celebration, Indige-Bration of and for Indigenous peoples, featuring the music of entertainers from across the nation.
The College Fund is creating this experience so we can all join together to learn more about the students and tribal colleges and universities we support and to lean into one of the biggest challenges Indigenous people face today – our visibility. Native students over the years have continually shared that one of the biggest challenges in their educations and in their lives is that they feel invisible. In fact, many of the students we support have shared that their non-Native classmates did not know that Native people still existed!
In my nearly 40 years of work in Tribal higher education as a teacher, tribal college president, and now as the president of the American Indian College Fund, this is one of the biggest and recurring frustrations I have heard from Native students. It is time for that to change. The College Fund is working to create greater access to higher education for Native people and to create a welcoming education environment where Native students are seen and heard, and their contributions are valued.
At the College Fund we believe education is the answer to creating better opportunities for Native students, their families, and communities. Education changes everything. But we also know that the students we help to achieve their dreams and goals graduate and enter a world that is not always kind or just. And we want to change that.
I hope you will join us at our Indige-Bration on October 10, 2021, beginning at 6:30 p.m. MDT to create greater visibility for Native people and students. We will be treated to performances and stories from outstanding Indigenous artists and students as well as our allies and supporters, including Pink Martini, Portugal. The Man, Martha Redbone, Indigo Girls, Sarah McLachlan, Frank Waln, The Ghost of Paul Revere, Jewel, Nathaniel Rateliff – and more – with special guest appearances by Robbie Robertson, Téa Leoni, Mandy Patinkin, Kathryn Grody, Brooke Simpson, Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam, and Ziggy Marley. Our non-Indigenous friends and allies who walk alongside us to create shared spaces where valuable Native perspectives are shared and voices are heard and valued, will join our celebration.
We are making progress in our nation as we honor Indigenous people on this day in greater numbers of cities and states across our country—a country which is Indian Country. We hope our Indige-Bration and work will inspire you to continue that progress towards greater visibility of Native peoples and will lead you to seek and include Indigenous voices in your community, in your classrooms, on your campuses, in your workplaces, and in your circles, not only on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but every day.
To see a full list of performers and register for the free event, please visit https://collegefund.org/events/indigebration/.
We also invite you to support the American Indian College Fund for Indigenous Peoples’ Day. You can learn more at https://collegefund.org.
For more ideas about how to support Indigenous peoples and communities on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, check out Real Simple magazine.