3rd Annual Indigenous Peoples Tribute: Weekend of Healing & Education, 10/5 -10/8

3rd Annual Indigenous Peoples Tribute: Weekend of Healing & Education, 10/5 -10/8

The Telluride Institute has partnered with San Miguel County, the Telluride Historical Museum, Between the Covers Bookstore, Ah Haa School of the Arts, Telluride Ski & Golf Co., Telluride Sports, Jumping Jan’ Productions and Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library to work towards a reconciliation with indigenous people of the region by inviting Ute youth to ski free, holding roundtables and workshops, sponsoring the Indigenous Peoples Day events. Most of the weekend will be FREE and open to all, though donations are always welcome. For more info, call 970-729-0220 (voice or text, but no voicemail please), visit the Telluride Institute website www.tellurideinstitute.org, or the Facebook community page Indigenous Peoples Day – San Miguel County.

Several years ago at a conference at the Center of the American West in Boulder Pawnee legal scholar Walter Echo-Hawk commented:

“Until the U.S. makes reconciliation with the indigenous peoples of this continent for the genocide that accompanied the nation’s founding, America will never be at peace.”

“For the third year since offering a formal apology to Ute tribal peoples for their forced relocation to Utah,” explained former county commissioner and Ute Reconciliation program director Art Goodtimes, “We are celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day – October 8 – with a weekend of talks, a healing workshop, music and poetry performances.”

The weekend begins Friday, October 5, with Ute elder Roland McCook of Montrose offering an invocation and blessings for the start of the Original Thinkers conference at 3:30 p.m. at the Telluride Conference Center in the Mountain Village. To honor ancestors of a place is a deep trait in our species and having an elder of place honor 10, 20, 100 generations past helps educate us all.

Roland McCook

McCook then goes to the San Miguel County meeting room on the second floor of the Miramonte Building in Telluride at 5 p.m. to deliver that same Friday to talk about issues facing indigenous peoples in this country right now. Part of reconciliation is educating each other on experiences, taught perceptions, misconceptions.

“Come with questions,” McCook says.

Saturday, October 6, Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk of Towaoc, former co-chair of the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition and past Ute Mountain Ute Tribal council member, holds a noon roundtable at the Placerville Schoolhouse. It was there three years ago at the Placerville Park that a rock plaque was erected to honor the Ute people at the first Indigenous Peoples Day event in the county. A moment is scheduled to mark that rapprochement before the roundtable. Audience members are encouraged to join in the discussions.

Lopez-Whiteskunk travels to the Telluride Historical Museum for a second roundtable at 3 p.m. And she has accepted an invitation this year from the Telluride Institute to join its Board of Trustees 

Saturday evening the Museum co-hosts retired BLM archaeologist Glade Hadden of Delta to talk about the Eagle Rockshelter on the Gunnison River near Austin. That is the oldest excavated site in Colorado and has uncovered artifacts to demonstrate near-continuous indigenous habitation of the Western Slope for 130 centuries.

Finally, for Saturday evening’s finale, Jumpin’ Jan productions and the Benally family of Flagstaff have worked together to bring Navajo rock band SIHASIN to perform at the Fly Me To the Moon. The show is schedule from 9 to 11 p.m. Three generations of the Benally family are scheduled to perform. Their latest CD, Fight Like a Woman, will be available at the show. (The only IPD event of the weekend that costs some cash, the $5 cover will go directly to the band.)

Sunday afternoon, October 7,  3 p.m., the Telluride Library is co-hosts a healing workshop with Eutimia Cruz Montoya of Denver.

As she explains:

“The workshop is intended as an intercultural recognition and reckoning of both our ancestral and present traumas endured and incurred by living in today’s America, on the foundation of yesterday’s injustice. We will hold healing space to witness and grieve the pain of our collective histories as well as honor our futures and the future of our descendants by exploring and calling unto us real life healing solutions.”

At 6:30 p.m. Montoya will cross the street to the Telluride Arts HQ to perform her poetry. Earlier this year, she was featured at the Crestone Poetry Festival organized by Peter Anderson.

Monday, October 8, special guest Rick Chavolla, board chair of the American Indian Community House in New York City and representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues speaks at the morning assembly for the Telluride Mountain School at 8:30 a.m. before moving to the Telluride Public School where interested teachers are making arrangements.

That evening, 5:30 p.m., the Telluride Library co-hosts local Joe Pacal who speaks on the issues of food sovereignty and ecosystems restoration on the Navajo Reservation where he’s been working for the past 18 years.

The weekend’s last event will be at 6 p.m. in the Library’s Program Room with Chavolla giving a talk about his cultural center idea and the urban Indigenous experience – very different from life on the rez or in rural America.

1 Comment
  • Laurie Lundquist
    Posted at 08:58h, 01 October

    Thank you Susan – Thank you TIO This promises to be an eye opening series of offerings !