Indigenous Peoples Day rally held at Penn State
Dozens of people gathered outside Old Main on Penn State's University Park campus Monday to listen to music and speakers for an Indigenous Peoples Resistance Day Rally – the first event of its kind on campus, according to its organizers.
Timothy Benally, a member of the Diné nation of Arizona and vice president of the Indigenous Peoples Students Association at Penn State, said the rally offered recognition to indigenous people and was “a long time coming.”
“Though it’s just a day, it means a lot in the university actually taking the steps and putting forth the funding to recognize indigenous peoples and make sure that indigenous students feel seen and heard,” he said.
The rally featured testimonials on the significance of land acknowledgment and indigenous people as well as music influenced by indigenous cultures and experiences. Los Angeles-based Chicano band Las Cafeteras performed several original songs and covers. At one point, singer Hector Flores rallied the crowd with a cover of Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba.”
In addition, the Akwesasne Women Singers, from traditionally Haudenosaunee land in upstate New York, sang songs of the Mohawk people. The event was closed out with a performance by the Jake George Family, who sang and danced to traditional indigenous music.
President Joe Biden issued the first presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2021.
Indigenous Peoples Day events continue Tuesday on campus, including a songwriting workshop and a performance by Las Cafeteras.