MOVING & GROOVING— The St. Lawrence Island Dance Group performs at the Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration at the Rec Center on Monday, Oct. 9.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrated in Nome

A grand celebration of culture and family took place Monday in the Rec Center. Nomeites gathered in the afternoon and stayed into the evening to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Though it’s not a federally recognized holiday, in 2021 the Biden Administration officially commemorated the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
This is the second year Nome celebrated the holiday joining hundreds of cities across the country adopting the day over the former Columbus Day.
“Everyone else is an immigrant, we are not. This is our homeland,” said Deilah Johnson, council member for the Village of Solomon and organizer for the event. “It feels great to be Nationally recognized in that aspect.”
The event kicked off at 1 p.m. with tables full of homemade creations for sale and different activities for kids like Indigenous bingo and coloring pages.
The potluck began at 5 p.m., elders eat first, of course. A long table boasted delicious foods, with fresh fry bread at the end.
Kirsten Timbers, president of the Village of Solomon and coordinator for the event, made an announcement during the meal. “We occupy Indigenous space. Nome has only been called Nome since 1903. Before that it was Sitnasuak for thousands of years,” Timbers said.
Then Melanie Bahnke, CEO of Kawerak, gave a short presentation recognizing the missing and murdered indigenous peoples of the region. She read aloud names of those who “Can’t be with us today,” Bahnke said “they are gone but not forgotten.”
Once everyone had eaten, performances began. Comedian Keith Nahanee from Vancouver, Canada was MC, announcing the first performance from the St. Lawrence Island Dance Group.
Then people lined up to walk the red carpet, strutting their stuff and showing off indigenous wears in a fashion show.
King Island Dance group performed next, getting the crowd on their feet for some dancing.
Keith Nahanee performed his comedy routine next, talking to the crowd about his experiences as a Native in Vancouver.
Witty Youngman, a musician from Anchorage closed out the night performing original songs and covers of songs by her favorite artists. Youngman said Nome is one of her favorite places to come and sing and she was honored to join the community on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Sponsors of the festivities were the Village of Solomon, Norton Sound Health Corporation and Kawerak.

The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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