On behalf of the Native and Indigenous Peoples Initiative (NIPI) we express gratitude to be able to represent alongside the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC). On October 9, 2023, we honored and celebrated Indigenous People’s Day at the annual Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island, Yelamu, Ohlone territory, respectively. The IITC has organized the annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island to recognize the historic Alcatraz Occupation that began November 20, 1969 as a way to acknowledge and support the resistance and survival of the Indigenous Peoples of this land. 2023 marked the 44th Annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Sunrise Gathering as well as the 5th Annual Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. Both events featured Native and Indigenous performers and speakers as well as local vendors. It was an honor to see so many participants and attendants supporting the event and individual artists.
Upon sunset the Native and Indigenous Peoples Initiative (NIPI) received an Indigenous Peoples Day Proclamation from the city of Redwood City, CA.
NIPI is supported by San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Office of Diversity and Equity. It is one of the nine Health Equity Initiatives funded by the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63). For more info and our meeting schedule, visit www.smchealth.org/NIPI.
Written by Gloria Gutierrez (she/her), Co-Chair of NIPI
On Monday, October 9, the Native American Initiative (NAI), Nuestra Casa, and their partners celebrated Indigenous People’s Day. In this inaugural East Palo Alto Indigenous People’s Day event, approximately 80 guests joined the organizers in celebrating and learning about indigenous healing practices and views of wellness.
While the event was enjoyed by all attendees, the acknowledgement of Indigenous People’s Day is controversial for many Americans. Though the documented atrocities of Columbus’s landing are hard to deny, many feel that Columbus paved the way for the United States of America to exist which is itself worthy of celebration. The Native American Initiative has welcomed conversation on this topic. Last year, BHRS teams invited the NAI to join staff meetings and discuss the importance of indigenous experiences and acknowledging Indigenous People’s Day. What began as controversy became an opportunity for exchange and shared understanding.
Credit: Ana Mila, AOD Intern
In acknowledgment of the original inhabitants of this continent –American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, San Mateo County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services will close on Monday, October 9th in observance of Indigenous People’s Day.
Honoring Indigenous People’s Day helps provide indigenous communities with a stage to reveal historical truths of genocide and oppression as well as current injustices. It also allows our San Mateo County community to celebrate indigenous resilience, resistance, and empowerment by connecting indigenous identity to something beyond controversies over sports teams and cultural appropriation.