Indigenous Culture

Indigenous culture is a continuum from Alaska/Canada to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of Argentina and Chile. And we are still here.

Marguerite Humeau: Birth Canal

NEW MUSEUM, LOWER EAST SIDE, Tue-Sun, September 4, 2018 to January 6, 2019 ~ French artist channels the Goddess of prehistoric Venus figurines

Socrates Annual 2018

SOCRATES SCULPTURE PARK, ASTORIA, QUEENS: Daily, October 7, 2018 to March 11, 2019 ~ Dominican, French, Peruvian & Puerto Rican artists or inspirations. FREE

Crown of the Andes

METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, UPPER EAST SIDE, Daily ~ One of the most famous Colombian religious icons contains the Atahualpa Emerald which belonged to the last Inca emperor

Indigenous Peoples Day 2019

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S CELEBRATION
Red Hawk Native American Arts Council
October 13 – 14, 2019 (TBD)
Sunday – Monday
Randall’s Island
~
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY
October 14, 2019, Monday

Taíno: Native Heritage and Identity in the Caribbean

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN, FINANCIAL DISTRICT, Daily, July 28, 2018 – October 2019 ~ See how Caribbean communities are reclaiming their Taíno roots. FREE

Las mañanitas a nuestra Virgen de Guadalupe 2019

ST PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MIDTOWN, Wed, Dec 11, 2019 ~ A special concert for Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico and symbol of our multicultural identity

David Rubenstein Atrium ~ Thursday Free Concerts

Thursday Free Concerts (some Fridays)
~
David Rubenstein Atrium
Lincoln Center, Manhattan
~
African, Colombian, Cuban, Dominican, Folk, Guatemalan, Indigenous, Mayan, Mexican, Puerto Rican & Spanish bachata, cumbia, merengue, salsa, and soukous music and dancing

Our Lady of Guadalupe ~ Nuestra señora de Guadalupe

DECEMBER 12 ~ Like many of us, the patron saint of Mexico is mixed race. She is the icon of Mexican identity, a blend of Indigenous, European and African people and culture. We look to faith for hope and comfort. Our Lady of Guadalupe helps us see the divine in all of us.

DOC NYC 2018 ~ America’s biggest documentary film festival

November 8 – 15, 2018
~
IFC Center, SVA Theatre & Cinepolis
West Village & Chelsea, Manhattan
~
America’s largest documentary film festival presents over 300 films and events with 42 world premieres and 17 U.S. premieres
~
African – American, Brazilian, Honduran, Indigenous, Italian, Jamaican, Jewish, Mexican, Puerto Rican and Spanish films

Native American Heritage Month

November
~
We the people live with the land from the Alaskan/Canadian Arctic to Tierra del Fuego (Argentina/Chile)

Cecilia Vicuña: Disappeared Quipu, Indigenous Chilean art

BROOKLYN MUSEUM, PROSPECT PARK, Wed-Sun, May 18-November 25, 2018 ~ Chilean artist resurrects an ancient Indigenous knotted cord writing and reading system of the Andean peoples.

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 (nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov).


Metropolitan Museum of Art

UPPER EAST SIDE, Daily ~ NYC’s encyclopedia of art

Christie’s

Daily
~
Rockefeller Center
Midtown, Manhattan
~
The world’s leading art auction house

Sotheby’s

Daily
~
Upper East Side, Manhattan
~
One of the world’s leading auction houses

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

El Museo del Barrio ~ Caribbean & Latin American Art

EAST HARLEM, Wed-Sun ~ Puerto Rican, Caribbean & Latin American art museum and community center

National Museum of the American Indian

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

Throckmorton Fine Art ~ Latin American Photography & Pre-Columbian Art

America’s leading dealer in vintage and contemporary Latin American photography, Pre-Columbian art, and Chinese jade and antiquities.
145 East 57th St, 3rd Floor
(between Lexington & Third Ave)
Midtown East, Manhattan
Tuesday – Saturday

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 (redhawkcouncil.org) 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.


 

Martín Fierro is the foundation of Argentine literature

By José Hernandez (1872)

Gaucho

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

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.


 

Chocolate

July 7
World Chocolate Day
~
October 28
National Chocolate Day (USA)
~
Cocoa, from which chocolate is made, is native to the upper Amazon of Colombia and Venezuela. Domesticated in Guatemala and Mexico, Spanish friars took it to Europe where the addition of sugar made it popular.

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

Mictlancihuatl is the Aztec goddess of the underworld

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

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)

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

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.


 

México City Day of the Dead Parade

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO, ESTRELA DE LUZ TO EL ZOCALO, Sat, October 27, 2019 ~ The real parade was inspired by James Bond’s “Spectre” parade

Day of the Dead ~ Día de los Muertos

OCTOBER 31
We build ofrendas (home altars) to invite the souls of family members to visit this world
~
NOVEMBER 1
Day of the Holy Innocents
Día de los Santos Inocentes
Child souls visit
~
NOVEMBER 2
Día de los Muertos
Day of the Dead
Adult souls visit and we tend family graves

Queens Bolivian Day Parade ~ Desfile Boliviano

Sunday, October 21, 2018
~
Jackson Heights, Queens
~
Celebrate our Indigenous heritage and freedom from slavery with our folkloric dances: Caporales, La Diablada, Morenada, Tinku and more. Bolivian Pride!

Staten Island Day of the Dead Festival 2018

Sunday, October 21, 2018
~
Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Benedicta School
West Brighton, Staten Island
~
A family Day of the Dead Festival with ofrenda making and other Méxican cultural activities

Mile-Long Opera, a biography of 7 o’clock, 1,000 singers, 100 stories

October 3 – 8, 2018
Wednesday – Monday
~
High Line
Meatpacking District & Chelsea, Manhattan

Peru to the World Expo 2018 world’s best ceviche chef Javier Wong

Sunday, September 23, 2018 ~ Peruvian tastings, Pisco cocktails and entertainment. World’s Best Ceviche Chef Javier Wong will be there !
~
Metropolitan West
Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan

Central American Independence Parade & Festival Honduran Garifuna

PARADE
From Happy Land Fire Memorial
To Crotona Park
Tremont, The Bronx
~
FESTIVAL
Crotona Park, The Bronx
~
Sunday, September 9, 2018

Indigenous Peoples Day 2019

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S CELEBRATION
Red Hawk Native American Arts Council
October 13 – 14, 2019 (TBD)
Sunday – Monday
Randall’s Island
~
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY
October 14, 2019, Monday

México City Day of the Dead Parade

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO, ESTRELA DE LUZ TO EL ZOCALO, Sat, October 27, 2019 ~ The real parade was inspired by James Bond’s “Spectre” parade

Day of the Dead ~ Día de los Muertos

OCTOBER 31
We build ofrendas (home altars) to invite the souls of family members to visit this world
~
NOVEMBER 1
Day of the Holy Innocents
Día de los Santos Inocentes
Child souls visit
~
NOVEMBER 2
Día de los Muertos
Day of the Dead
Adult souls visit and we tend family graves

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company

Calpulli should be on Broadway. They are that good. The storytelling is world-class. The dancers show unusually strong technique. The costumes will wow you and the shows always have something good to say.

“Coco” is the Disney Day of the Dead movie

2018 Oscar & Golden Globe
Best Animated Film
~
Disney got it right

Staten Island Day of the Dead Festival 2018

Sunday, October 21, 2018
~
Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Benedicta School
West Brighton, Staten Island
~
A family Day of the Dead Festival with ofrenda making and other Méxican cultural activities

La Casita Sings the Poetry and Music of Our Communities

Lincoln Center Out of Doors
Hearst Plaza, Lincoln Center
Saturday, August 4, 2018
~
Pregones Theater
Concourse, The Bronx
Sunday, August 5, 2018

Pacha, Llaqta, Wasichay: Indigenous Space, Modern Architecture

July 13 – September 30, 2018
Closed Tuesdays
~
Whitney Museum
Meatpacking District, Manhattan
~
See how Indigenous cosmology suggests architecture which defines home and life itself

Systema Solar is a hot electro-cumbia dance collective from Colombia

SummerStage
Queensbridge Park
Queensbridge, Queens
Thursday, July 12, 2018

Tierra, the pre-Columbian Latin American landscape ~ Throckmorton

Vintage and historic photographs of the remains of Aztec, Maya and Inca cities in the Latin American landscape
Throckmorton Fine Art
Midtown East, Manhattan
June 28 – September 15, 2018

Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa: The House at Kawinal at the New Museum

Literature, folklore, magic and childhood memories in this Guatemalan performance art installation and sculpture exhibition.
New Museum
Lower East Side, Manhattan
June 6 – September 9, 2018
Closed Mondays

Enrique Chagoya ‘Then and Now: Aliens Sans Frontières’

George Adams Gallery
Chelsea, Manhattan
Tuesday – Saturday
April 26 – June 23, 2018

PEN World Voices Festival 2018 Resist and Reimagine

165+ writers and artists from over 50 countries gather in NYC to talk about the theme ‘Resist and Reimagine.’
April 16 – 22, 2018

Edmar Castaneda is a Colombian Jazz virtuoso of the Andean Harp

With special guest Afro-Swiss harmonica virtuoso Gregoire Maret
LeFrak Concert Hall
Queens College
Flushing, Queens
Sunday, April 15, 2018

Renowned poet Rina Soldevilla to read at Peruvian-American Association

A master of enchanting stories set in the Inca heartland.
Peruvian-American Association
Midtown East, Manhattan
Thursday, April 12, 2018

Acquavella ‘The Worlds of Joaquín Torres-García’ Uruguayan modern art

Acquavella Galleries
Upper East Side, Manhattan
Monday – Saturday
April 12 – May 25, 2018
EXTENDED
June 29, 2018

‘Like Life Sculpture, Color, and the Body’ at The Met Breuer

Upper East Side, Manhattan
Tuesday – Sunday
March 21 – July 22, 2018

Tarsila do Amaral ‘Inventing Modern Art in Brazil’ at MoMA

Tarsila was deeply engaged in the 1920s Paris Cubist art scene. Back home she created a modernism that could only be Brazilian. Then she evolved a social consciousness that is a hallmark of the great Brazilian artists of the 20th century.
MoMA in Midtown, Manhattan
Daily
February 11 – June 3, 2018

64th Winter Antiques Show (2018) is America’s premiere antiques show

Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue
between 66th & 67th St
Upper East Side, Manhattan
PREVIEW
Thursday, January 18, 2018
SHOW
January 19 – 28, 2018

Valdir Cruz ‘Presences’ captures the spirits of the Brazilian rainforest

Throckmorton Fine Art
Midtown East
Tuesday – Saturday
December 7, 2017 – February 24, 2018

Calpulli ‘Día de los Muertos’ on NY1

Enscenario: El Día de Muertos Llega al Town Hall
by Fernando Cárdenas
NY1 Theater Reporter
November 3, 2017

Bulla en el Barrio is Colombian Bullerengue of Palenque of San Basilio

With Moroccan singers Innov Gnawa
C’mon Everybody
325 Franklin Ave at Clifton Place
Bed-Stuy Brooklyn
Friday, November 3, 2017

Calpulli ‘Día de los Muertos’ on NBC News

What’s El Día de los Muertos? It’s Not Scary, and It’s Not Halloween
by Kristina Puga
November 1, 2017

Mano a Mano Day of the Dead celebration

St. Mark’s Church
131 East 10th St
at Second Ave
East Village, Manhattan
Friday – Sunday
October 27 – 29, 2017

Calpulli ‘Día de los Muertos’ celebrates Day of the Dead at The Town Hall

Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, New Jersey
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Queens Theatre
Sunday, October 29, 2017
The Town Hall, Midtown, Manhattan
Saturday, November 4, 2017

NYC Parks Day of the Dead

Saint Mary’s Park
Mott Haven, The Bronx
Saturday, October 28, 2017

Che Malambo is Argentine gaucho dancing

The all-male Argentine cowboy dance sensation comes to NYC!
~ Schimmel Center
Financial District, Manhattan
Friday, March 24, 2017
~ On Stage at Kingsborough
Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn
Saturday, March 25, 2017

México City Day of the Dead Parade

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO, ESTRELA DE LUZ TO EL ZOCALO, Sat, October 27, 2019 ~ The real parade was inspired by James Bond’s “Spectre” parade

Totó la Momposina is Colombia’s Queen of Cumbia

Rumsey Playfield
Central Park
Saturday, July 8, 2017

William Cordova: Smoke Signals: Sculpting in Time at Sikkema Jenkins

April 7 – May 13, 2017
~
Sikkema Jenkins & Co
Chelsea, Manhattan
~
Peruvian – American artist creates art that speaks to Indigenous human rights

Aurelio Martinez is a Honduran Garifuna star

The leading voice of the Garifuna people of Honduras, the last Indigenous Carib.
David Rubenstein Atrium
Lincoln Center
Thursday, January 19, 2017
FREE

When Two Worlds Collide

Heidi Brandenburg and Mathew Orzel’s 2016 documentary about the clash between Peru’s Amazonian people and the government screens at Film Forum Wednesday, August 17 to Tuesday, August 30, 2016

CocoaDíos

A high-energy immersive experience of the ancient Mesoamerican legend of how chocolate came to earth
at the House of Yes, Brooklyn May 5-21, 2016

Dzul Dance Tree of Life Trilogy III Wacah Chan (Premiere)

NYC’s Mayan circus theater tells the story of “Wacah Chan,” Mayan for the snake with two faces
El Museo del Barrio
Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 8pm

Dzul Dance Tree of Life Trilogy II Kuxan Sum

“Kuxan Sum” is the living umbilical cord that connects the spiritual realms. Meet conquistador Cortés and the native maiden La Malinche who changed the direction of American history.

Dzul Dance Tree of Life Trilogy I Soul of the Maya

Premiered on December 12, 2015 at El Museo del Barrio in New York City, La Virgen de Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico, made a surprise appearance on her feast day.

Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed

April 18, 2015 – May 20, 2018
~
National Museum of the American Indian
Financial District, Manhattan
~
Central American heritage

Sergio Hernandez ~ Popol Vuh

An exhibition of paintings and drawings by Mexican artist Sergio Hernández inspired by the “Popol Vuh” at the Mexican Cultural Institute’s Galeria Octavio Paz.

La Peregrina, Love and Death in Mexico

Mexican Cultural Institute
Murray Hill, Manhattan
Thursday, October 18, 2012


MORE | Taíno | Aztec | Maya | Inca |


 


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