By Anoush Ter Taulian
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
NEW YORK — The Redhawk Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration was held on Lenape land on Randall’s Island in New York City on October 10 and 11. Today while over 130 cities acknowledge Indigenous Peoples Day, NYC still promotes Columbus Day, despite its tragic history of genocide and violence.
Cliff Matias, founder of Redrum Motorcycle Club, and others helped create this celebration to honor indigenous peoples surviving despite genocides. Elders, medicine people and cultural performers convene to share their traditions.
This year’s celebration began with a sunrise ceremony of prayers and offerings. Then there was a water ceremony where people had brought water from their various homelands which were blessed and poured together. The dazzling array of performers ranged from the Aztec Dancers, Taino Music and Dance Ensemble, to Immortal Technique, a Peruvian hip hop artist.
I was allowed to speak about the invasion of Artsakh and it was challenging to talk about Azerbaijani war crimes in a few minutes. I had asked one of my friends in Artsakh what she was going to do if the Azerbaijanis invaded again and she said “Baikar, Baikar meenchev verch,” (Fight, fight to the end) which I had the crowd repeat and videotaped to show her a moment of Artsakh visibility at Indigenous Day in NYC.