Indigenous NYC or Native American NYC was Lenape (original people). NYC is built on the Lenape homeland: Lenapehoking.
Broadway was the Lenape road from the market under what is now the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, past the site of the Sacred Council Elm under what is now Bowling Green Park, up to the old Lenape town in Inwood and beyond.
Indigenous Peoples are guardians of the land in a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with Mother Earth. The human mind is so flexible that we can adapt to almost every environment. This is the power of Indigenous Peoples. We are perfectly adapted to local conditions.
Indigenous peoples in the US and Canada are not necessarily Latin, but in Latin America we are. The colonial narrative is that we died out. That’s cover for the Indigenous Genocide committed by the European Diaspora, US Army, and Texas Rangers.
We didn’t die out. We were (force) married in. Governments just stopped counting us in the Census to justify their thievery and violence. The Census says we don’t exist, but we are still here. We’ve been here for at least 15,000 years (possibly 30,000), the European Diaspora less than 1,000 years.
Indigenous NYC News
Sunday, December 11, 2022
Monday, December 12, 2022
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Friday, November 24, 2023
Wednesday, November 9-17, 2022
IFC CENTER, SVA THEATRE, CINÉPOLIS CHELSEA
West Village, Chelsea, Manhattan
DAY OF THE DEAD
Thursday, November 2, 2023
DAY OF THE DEAD
Thursday, November 2, 2023
OFRENDAS (Family Altars)
Monday, October 31, 2022
DÍA DE LOS INNOCENTES (Children’s Day)
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
DÍA DE MUERTOS (Day of the Dead)
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Thursday, November 24, 2022
Stretching the Canvas: Eight Decades of Native Painting is ongoing at the National Museum of the American Indian in the Financial District. FREE. si.edu
Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces is ongoing at the National Museum of the American Indian in the Financial District. FREE. si.edu
Infinity of Nations: Art and History is ongoing at the National Museum of the American Indian in the Financial District. FREE. si.edu
The Native American Social with NativeTec, Ma’s House & BIPOC Art Studio, and Niamuck Land Trust, brings Indigenous artwork, storytelling, drumming, singing and dancing to Flushing Town Hall in Flushing, Queens on Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 12pm. Free with rsvp, but suggested donation $10 adults/$5 children. 🇺🇸
The Indigenous Peoples Day NYC 2022 PowWow with drumming, singing, dancing, an overnight, and a sunrise ceremony is in Randall’s Island Park, Sunday-Monday, October 9-10, 2022, from 11am Sunday to 6pm Monday. 🇺🇸
Ronny Quevedo: entre aquí y allá, an exhibition exploring Indigenous Ecuadorian heritage, migration and community, opens with a reception at Alexander Gray Associates in Chelsea, Manhattan on Thursday, September 8, 2022 from 6-8pm. The show runs to October 15. alexandergray.com 🇪🇨
Americas Society and Opera Hispánica present the U.S. premiere of Diego Sánchez Haase’s “Ñomongetá: a Guaraní Opera,” about the Spanish conquest of Paraguay, at the National Museum of the American Indian in Manhattan’s Financial District on Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 2pm. Free tickets at the door. (Guaraní are one of the main Indigenous communities in Paraguay). 🇪🇸🇵🇾
The Drums Along the Hudson Native American and Multicultural festival is at Inwood Hill Park in Inwood, Manhattan on Sun, Jun 5, 2022 from 11am – 6pm. Free.
La Cumbiamba eNe Yé celebrates their “Resplandor” album release of Colombian Cumbia at Terraza 7 in Elmhurst, Queens on Fri, Mar 25 at 9pm. $20. 🇨🇴
Lenapehoking, the first ever Lenape-curated exhibition in New York City, shows Lenape artists of the past and present at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Jan 20 – Apr 30. This is curated by Joe Baker of the Lenape Center. There are many events around the exhibition. bklynlibrary.org
Aurelio Martínez & the Garifuna Soul Band play Garifuna Folk, with NYC’s own Wabafu Garifuna Dance Company opening, for the World Music Institute at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village on Thu, Dec 16 at 7:30pm (6:30pm doors). From $20. worldmusicinstitute.org 🇭🇳|🇧🇿🇬🇹🇳🇮🇺🇸
Indigenous Enterprise performs Native American dance at The Joyce Theater in Chelsea, Manhattan, Tue-Sun, Nov 9-14. From $26. joyce.org 🇨🇦🇺🇸
Celebrate “Dia de Nuestra Herencia Taína” (Taíno Heritage Day) with Concilio Taíno Guatu Ma C A Boriken of NYC, Cacique Baracutei Jorge Estévez, and Orlando y Su Plena at El Maestro cultural center in Foxhurst, The Bronx on Sun, Nov 21 at 3pm. FREE. Facebook @elmaestrobx 🇵🇷
Jules Tavernier and the Elem Promo, an exhibition of the artist’s collaboration with the Indigenous Pomo community in northern California, closes at The Met Fifth Avenue in Central Park on Tue, Sep 28, 2021. $25. 🇺🇸
The First Nations of Turtle Island
We still use many Lenape names for places. For example, “Manahatta” (hilly island) became Manhattan.
The Lenape market (trading post) was down on the battery where the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian is now.
The sacred Council Elm Tree meeting place was where Bowling Green is now.
Broadway was the Lenape road (trail) up the Hudson River.
The Lenape town (village) was the most beautiful spot in Manahatta, in what is now Inwood Hill Park.
At the time of European contact, the Americas were full of people who were cultivating and managing the land. Great civilizations among the First Nations included Mississippi Mound Builders and the Southwest Pueblos. These were large, highly-developed societies, but there were people everywhere. Most were farmers. Some were hunter gatherers.
There was nothing primitive about the First Nations. They just weren’t European.
The pre-contact population is highly debated but most estimates range from 50 to 100 million. European pandemics, genocidal practices, and the introduction of invasive livestock, caused a rapid 90% depopulation. Imagine the shock of that, yet many survived.
One of the big lies is that we were wiped out. If there are no people, you can take the land. The truth is that we intermarried or escaped into the mountains and forests. We are still here. We’ve always been here.
Colonizers tried to force us to be culturally European, but you can still see our Indigenous heritage in Latin music and dance, art, beauty queens, people’s names, place names, moon names, matriarchal family and leadership structures, and even in the ways that American Latins socialize.
For example, in Puerto Rico, a bohio (Taíno thatch building) becomes a chinchorro (roadside restaurant bar) which in New York City becomes a street fair kiosk or bodega corner store. The Taíno nation didn’t survive, but the people and social structures still live today.
Indigenous Festivals NYC
The Redhawk Native American Arts Council’s Indigenous People Day Pow Wow is the biggest Native American festival we know of in New York City.
The National Puerto Rican Day Parade is New York City’s biggest Indigenous Caribbean festival.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico is a Latin American icon of Indigenous heritage. New York’s biggest Indigenous Mexican festival is Las Mañanitas a Nuestra Virgen de Guadalupe, the Mexican birthday festival at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Indigenous New York City
The name “Manhattan” comes from the Lenape “Mannahatta” which means “land of many hills.” The hills have mostly been flattened by development, but Indigenous NYC is still there underneath it all.
The old trading post is under the National Museum of the American Indian at the southern tip of Manhattan. Broadway was the trail north to the main village in what is now Inwood at the northern tip of Manhattan, and upstate along the Hudson River under what is now Route 9. The Bowery was the trail that led up to the mainland shore of Long Island Sound. Red Hook Lane in Downtown Brooklyn was a Canarsie trail.
In traditional cultures, great trees are meeting spots. The Lenape sacred Council Elm was underneath the fountain at Bowling Green park.
The U.S. government forced the Lenape Delaware (delawaretribe.org)off their lands to Oklahoma. Yet the spirit of the First Nations has always been here and the Great Spirit of the land, the land of many hills, Mannahatta, will always be here.
There are many Indigenous sites in New York City. People forget, but the land remembers. Wëli kishku (Good Day in Lenape Delaware).
The Indigenous World
Indigenous people represent a continuum of cultures from Alaska and the Canadian arctic to Tierra del Fuego at the bottom of South America.
Indigenous peoples have a balanced symbiotic relationship with the land. Killing the people, kills the land; and killing the land, kills the people. Preserving Indigenous ways is really self-preservation.
Maria Tallchief, the First US American Prima Ballerina, Popularized The Nutcracker
Ki He Kah Stah Tsa (Elizabeth Marie “Betty” Tallchief) was born in Fairfax, Oklahoma on January 24, 1925.
Look at her hands. That’s Balanchine technique. She danced for him at Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and then became New York City Ballet’s and America’s first prima ballerina. Dancing “The Firebird” in 1949 made her a star. Together with George Balanchine, the father of ballet in the United States, she popularized “The Nutcracker.” Tallchief danced the Sugarplum Fairy.
Today ballet has become a career for niños bien (rich kids) because it takes so much expensive training and support from an early age to achieve mastery. But it makes sense that natural talent would rise from an Indigenous community.
For us, dance is a spiritual expression. We dance to show that we belong to our community. We dance to show our individuality within our community. We dance for faith and we dance for love. It’s all the same thing, isn’t it?
In the beginning we are all Indigenous somewhere.
In the end, we are all children of the earth, sun, moon and stars.
It’s time to remember who we are.