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Indian Country is taking to the sky, stage and taste-buds for a week of events that will appeal to all the senses.

Can’t miss moments include a concert where recording superstars will use their music to move Indigenous education forward, a lively exploration of Indigenuity, a savory celebration of the Indian Taco, and a high-flying tribute to Pueblo culture. 

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To squeeze maximum satisfaction out of the coming days, feast your eyes on Native News Online’s guide to all the hot happenings. 

(Courtesy photo)Dr. Daniel Wildcat (Muscogee/Yuchi) of Haskell Indian Nations University will speak at the 2021 Native American Cultural Celebration: Indigenuity: Building a Bridge to the Future, taking place virtually from Oct. 7 through Oct. 9, and presented by the Museum of Native American History in Bentonville, Ark. (Courtesy Photo)2021 Native American Cultural Celebration—Indigenuity: Building a Bridge to the Future

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 7 through Saturday, Oct. 9

WHERE: Museum of Native American History (MONAH), 202 SW O St., Bentonville, Ark. and on the MONAH Facebook page. Register here.

Dr. Daniel Wildcat first encountered the word “Indigenuity” some 15 years ago in a student's paper. The clever portmanteau merging Indigenous and ingenuity piqued his interest, and Wildcat ran with it.

”I loved that word and I've really been trying to take this idea of indigenous ingenuity, develop it, and really kind of flesh it out. The big takeaway is (that) our intellectual and cultural traditions are living. It’s not all about the past. And Indigenuity is a way to draw on that inheritance we have from our ancestors, ” Wildcat, a professor at Haskell Indian Nations University specializing in Indigenous knowledge, technology, environment, and education, told Native News Online

(Photo/Fulcrum Books)Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge by Dr. Daniel Wildcat (Muscogee/Yuchi). (Photo/Fulcrum Books)“The core of indigenuity is  taking that ancient wisdom and applying it to solve very contemporary problems,” said Wildcat, who also authored the book “Red Alert: Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge.”

As for concrete examples of Indigenuity, Wildcat cites the Indigenous practice of conducting controlled burns as a means of fighting wildfires, or the process of preserving estuaries by letting nature take its course instead of imposing man-made channels.

Next week, the watchword will come to real, relatable life when Wildcat and a host of Indigenous people at the tops of their fields — from astronauts to artists — gather virtually and in-person to share their knowledge during the Indigenuity: Building a Bridge to the Future event hosted by the Museum of Native American History (MONAH) in Bentonville, Ark. 

Tradition and innovation will blend in workshops, presentations, and concerts  Speakers and guests include Muscogee artist and muralist Johnnie Diacon, Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of the breakout bestseller “Braiding Sweetgrass,” and astronauts Commander John Herrington and Dr. Jose Hernandez.

Wildcat will be conducting several interviews at the event. During his discussion with Herrington, “we’re going to talk about how his Chickasaw culture has helped him be a successful aviator and astronaut,” Wildcat said. 

In terms of the impact of Indigenuity on the future of the planet, Wildcat is confident that Native knowledge will play a leading role in saving and sustaining the environment. 

“In the 21st century, if we're going to successfully address climate change, I think Indigenous voices will be the most important voices on this planet,” he said. “This event will let people know  that indigenous people have a lot of wisdom and knowledge that is very relevant.  I think they are already beginning to recognize it. Recognizing it is one thing, but they need to respect it too.“

(Photo/American Indian College Fund) The American Indian College Fund will present the Indige-bration concert online on Sunday, Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. Indige-bration

WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. MDT  

WHERE: Event page and registration

If you happen to be longing for a Lilith Fair reunion and are also committed to advancing American Indian education, Indige-bration is the quintessential concert for you.

The American Indian College Fund is combining sonic star power with a great cause for a major streaming musical celebration sparkling with Jewel, The Indigo Girls and Sarah McLachlan. 

The legendary female singer-songwriters will be joined by contemporary Indigenous performers including Sicanju Lakota hip hop artist Frank Waln, Samantha Crain (Choctaw) and Martha Redbone (Cherokee/Shawnee/Choctaw), as well as recording artists allied with Indigenous causes, like Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament, Portugal.The Man, Mandy Patinkin and Ziggy Marley, to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day and draw attention to access to higher education in Indian Country. 

Indige-bration will also put the spotlight on Native American students, who will share stories about the challenges they’ve faced in educational spaces. 

For more information about the American Indian College Fund, visit www.collegefund.org

(Courtesy National Indian Taco Championship)National Indian Taco Championship

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: Downtown Pawhuska, OK;  Event page 

Who is Indian Country’s top taco chef?

That mouthwatering question will be answered this weekend at  the National Indian Taco Championship in downton Pawhuska, Okla., where the creme de la creme of Indigenous cooks will put their taco-making talents to the test and try to top one another’s toppings.

Visitors can get in on the excitement and sample some extra tacos by paying  $5 to become taco competition judges. The winning taco chef will take home $1500, second place receives $1,000 and third place wins $500. 

Entertainment and activities including a Pow Wow dance competition, barrel racing and a drum contest,  will complement the savory celebration, allowing taco-lovers to work off some of those frybread and sour cream calories with a cultural workout.  

(Photo/Indian Pueblo Cultural Center)Sky City Buffalo Ram Dancers will perform at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta on Oct. 8. (Photo/Indian Pueblo Cultural Center)Albuquerque American Indian Arts Festival/Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 11

WHERE: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th Street NW, Albuquerque, NM; Balloon Fiesta Park, 4401 Alameda Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM;   Albuquerque American Indian Arts Festival event page, Balloon Fiesta event page

 Keep your eye on the Southwestern sky for the debut of Eyahne on the Horizon.

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center’s new hot air balloon will float high above New Mexico during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Eyahne on the Horizon has a matching message and motif.  Eyahne means “blessings” in the Keres language, and the balloon is decorated with geometric designs representing gifts of nature and nourishment like clouds, rain, earth and corn.

In addition to the flight of Eyahne on the Horizon, IPCC is hosting 11 days of events and activities both in tandem with and following the Balloon Fiesta. 

IPCC’s offerings kick off with the two-day Albuquerque American Indian Arts Festival on Saturday, Oct. 2, and Sunday, Oct. 3. Featuring 45 artists, dancing, food and more, it’s a chance for art lovers to buy directly from artists, observe art demonstrations and mix and mingle with Native creatives. 

Following the Arts Festival, IPCC will present Native dance groups and art and jewelry vendors in the Center’s courtyard, and performances at Balloon Fiesta Park throughout the Balloon Fiesta.  Featured dance groups include the Sky City Buffalo Ram Dancers, and The White Mountain Apache Crown Dancers. 

The festivities conclude on Monday, Oct. 11th with an Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration featuring dignitaries, Native dances, a historical presentation and artist demonstrations.

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About The Author
Tamara Ikenberg
Author: Tamara Ikenberg
Tamara Ikenberg is a contributing writer to Native News Online. She covers tribes throughout the southwest as well as Native arts, culture and entertainment. She can be reached at [email protected]