Bells jingled, feathers flew and chants rang out at Berkeley’s 14th annual Indigenous Peoples Day celebration, which drew hundreds of supporters to Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park on Saturday.
The city-sponsored event featured dozens of vendors and dance performances from American Indian tribes across the Bay Area and the country in honor of the Oct. 12 Day of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples.
The holiday is the first of its kind in the country-since 1991, the Berkeley City Council has been one of few city governments nationwide to proclaim the Saturday nearest Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day.
After the United Nations declared Aug. 9 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples in 1993, Bay Area-based coalition Resistance 500, which advocates awareness of American Indian history, urged the city of Berkeley to observe the holiday closer to Columbus Day instead.
In Berkeley, both have been designated citywide holidays.
“I’m sure there’s some people that prefer to celebrate Columbus Day, but generally I think (Indigenous People’s Day) is broadly supported,” said Councilmember Max Anderson.