We have been taught that we were killed off, but we are still here.

Bulla en el Barrio is NYC’s Colombian Bullerengue group

Monday, August 26, 2019
PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn ~ This Afro-Colombian women’s music and dance from San Basilio de Palenque, the first free African town in the Americas, is at Barbès

SummerStage 2019

June 1 – August 27, 2019
Summer live music dance theatre festival
NYC PARKS ~ African, Argentine, Brazilian, Chilean, Colombian, Creole, Cuban, Dominican, French, Garifuna, Haitian, Indigenous, Italian, Jewish, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Spanish culture and more. FREE

Whitney Biennial 2019 shows the diversity of American art today

May 17 – Sep 22, 2019, Closed Tuesdays
Argentine, Colombian, French, Indigenous, Mexican & Puerto Rican art exhibition
MEATPACKING DISTRICT, NYC ~ The survey of the latest developments in American art

Taíno culture at the Museum of the American Indian

July 28, 2018 – October 2019
Indigenous Taíno art exhibition
FINANCIAL DISTRICT, NYC ~ Caribbean communities are reclaiming our roots. FREE

Indigenous Peoples Day 2019

Red Hawk Native American Arts Council
October 13 – 14, 2019 (TBD)
Sunday – Monday
Randall’s Island
October 14, 2019, Monday

México City Day of the Dead Parade

Saturday, October 27, 2019
ESTRELA DE LUZ TO EL ZOCALO, Mexico City ~ The real parade was inspired by the fictional parade in the James Bond movie ‘Spectre’

Native American Heritage Month

Indigenous celebration
We are the first Americans, and we are still here from the Canadian Arctic to Tierra del Fuego

Las mañanitas a nuestra Virgen de Guadalupe 2019

Wednesday, December 11, 2019
MIDTOWN, NYC ~ A special concert for the patron saint of Mexico, a symbol of our multicultural identity

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Like many of us, the icon of Mexican identity is mixed race, a blend of Indigenous and European faith

‘Crown of the Andes,’ Colombian art at the Met Museum

Colombian Ecuadorian Peruvian Indigenous Inca art
UPPER EAST SIDE, permanent collection ~ This Marion crown from Popayán, Colombia contains the legendary Atahualpa Emerald which belonged to the last Inca emperor

Tolima gold pendant (1 BC - 700 AD). Museo del Oro. Bogotá, Colombia.

Tolima gold pendant (1 BC – 700 AD). Museo del Oro. Bogotá, Colombia.

This pendant, the most iconic piece of Indigenous Colombian gold, shows the shaman squatting to put his first chakra close to the earth.

Chakras are basically places on our body through which we breathe different energies. The first chakra is at the end of your spine between your sex part and your anus. We are a people of the earth and the first chakra “grounds” us in the basic needs of survival and security. Interestingly, the first chakra color is red which in western culture we associate with the heart and love.

This squat is also recognizable as a gesture in some African dance. It is the original meaning of “getting down” and one of the reasons that we lower our center of gravity to dance Argentine Tango (Tango was originally an African dance in Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina.)

This gesture is also the plie of ballet, the Italian and French court dance. Ironically, in plie the body goes down, but the energy goes up. Notice how the squat makes the figure taller. The shaman is doing a plie to enter a moment of transcendence.

In each of these examples, we are getting down, closer to the earth and the Great Spirit.


We are the first Americans. We have been here for about 14,000 years. Europeans only arrived about 500 years ago.

Columbus called us “Indians.” He was almost right. We came from Asia (Siberia) and the Pacific Islands. He just didn’t realize that we walked or sailed halfway around the world.

A U.S. education teaches a little about “American Indians” as if the Indigenous people of the United States are unique. Actually there is a continuum of Indigenous peoples from Canada’s Northwest Territories to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of Argentina and Chile.

A U.S. education teaches that we are primitive. We are just not European. After climate change runs its course, humanity may have no choice but to return to our ways of living in a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with the land. We are people of the land.

A U.S. education teaches that we are extinct, but basically we have always been here. We are the first Americans.

We are Taíno and Garifuna (Caribbean), Aztec and Mayan (Mexico), Inca (Peru), Quechua (Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina), and Mapuche (Chile). These are just a few of our major indigenous cultures.The United States recognizes 562 indigenous tribes. Mexico has 89 different living indigenous languages. Colombia recognizes 102 indigenous groups.

There are estimated to be about 70 million of us.

In the United States, November is National Native American Heritage Month (

Indigenous New York City

El Museo del Barrio

Art museum
EAST HARLEM, NYC ~ Puerto Rican, Caribbean & Latin American art museum and community center

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Museum Mile Festival
UPPER EAST SIDE, NYC ~ New York’s encyclopedia of art, 5,000 years worth


ROCKEFELLER CENTER, MIDTOWN ~ Antiques to contemporary art and Latin American art
# auction house

Sotheby’s is one of the world’s leading auction houses

UPPER EAST SIDE ~ Antiques to contemporary art and Latin American art
# auction house

American Museum of Natural History

UPPER WEST SIDE, Daily ~ Human cultures, the natural world and the known universe

Brooklyn Museum

PROSPECT PARK, BROOKLYN, Wed-Sun ~ “Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas” in the Arts of the Americas Galleries contains Brazilian, Colombian, Mexican, Peruvian, and other Pre-Columbian art. Open late on First Saturdays

National Museum of the American Indian

FINANCIAL DISTRICT, Daily ~ This branch of the Smithsonian does great bilingual exhibitions. FREE

Throckmorton Fine Art

MIDTOWN EAST, Tue-Sat ~ America’s top dealer in vintage and contemporary Latin American photography, Pre-Columbian art, and Chinese jade and antiquities

The first New Yorkers were the Lenape people. We are Algonquian speakers.

The most beautiful spot in Manhattan is the site of our old village in Inwood Hill Park at the very northern tip of Manhattan. There are “Indian Caves” up the hill.  Today they are used by the homeless.

The start of Broadway at the southern tip of Manhattan was originally a Lenape trading post.

Broadway was the Lenape trail from the trading post to the Lenape village and on up the Hudson to what is now Albany. That is why Broadway meanders diagonally across the rectangular Manhattan street grid.

The Red Hawk Arts Native American Arts Council ( carries on Indigenous American traditions in New York. Interestingly, part of their mission is to promote understanding of the great variety of Indigenous traditions.

We have the same problem across the Latin world. People think we are all the same. Yet each country, and even each region in each country, has a different mix of Indigenous + European + African traditions.


Indigenous People

Happy Birthday Benito Juárez, President of Mexico 1858-1872

SAN PABLO GUELATAO, OAXACA, MÉXICO; Mar 21, 1806 (Sat in 2020); Indigenous Mexican founding father ~ “Respect for the rights of others is peace”

Martín Fierro is the foundation of Argentine literature

By José Hernandez (1872)


South American cowboys in Argentina, Uruguay, and the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul

Indigenous Culture

Mexican Marigold, Aztec Marigold, Cempasúchil are Day of the Dead flowers

October 31 – November 2
Mexican Marigolds are a Central American flower with healing powers that attract spirits to visit their families on the Day of the Dead

Catrina La Calavera Garbancera is the icon of the Day of the Dead

October 31 – November 2
Skull Catrina, by José Guadalupe Posada, makes fun of dark people trying to be white and Americans trying to be European. Death teaches that we are all equal.

Ofrendas are home altars that invite family souls to visit on the Day of the Dead

October 31
We build home altars to invite family souls to visit us on the Day of the Holy Innocents (November 1) and the Day of the Dead (November 2)

Mictlancihuatl is the Aztec goddess of the underworld

October 31 – November 2
“You live as long as someone remembers you.” We remember you Mictlancihuatl.

Quechua, the Indigenous language of the Andes

ANDES REGION ~ The Indigenous language family of the Peruvian Andes and Andes communities in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador

Celebrate National Chocolate Day

Sunday, October 28, 2019
Chocolate, made from cocoa, is native to the upper Amazon of Colombia and Venezuela. It was domesticated in Guatemala and Mexico. Spanish priests took it to Europe.

The Westminster Dog Show (2018) brings Latin Breeds to The Garden

Piers 92/94 and
Madison Square Garden
Saturday, February 10, 2018
Monday – Tuesday
February 12 – 13, 2018

During the glacial period until about 14,000 years ago, the first Americans crossed from Northeast Asia over the land bridge on the Bering Strait. They came from what is now Siberia.

Growing up in Los Angeles with Mexican – American kids and in Bangkok, Thailand with Thai and Chinese kids, I noticed as a boy that old Mexican women and old Chinese women look a lot alike. If you open your eyes, it is obvious how interconnected we all are.


Within a 100 years of the arrival of the Spaniards, European diseases depopulated large sections of what is now the eastern United States. We had no resistance to foreign diseases.

The Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock took over mostly abandoned fields because much of the local population had already been wiped out.

Some of this was accidental, but some of it was intentional biological warfare with smallpox as the weapon. Our founding fathers practiced biological warfare. Even George Washington and his British opponents used biological warfare against each other during our Revolutionary War. It was standard practice at the time.


One of the surprising Indigenous contributions to our U.S. American culture is our democratic form of government. Democracy, the idea that common people should have a say in their own governance, comes from the Greeks. But the U.S. Constitution, our country’s foundational law, was modeled in part on the relations of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.

The Six Nations were roughly equivalent to states. One of the things our constitutional framers noticed was that the Six Nations at times undercut each other by making their own deals with foreign powers. To avoid this, the framers gave responsibility for foreign dealings to the central government.

In 1988, the 100th U.S. Congress acknowledged the contributions of Native Americans in H. Con. Res. 331.