Art & Culture

Locals celebrate Indigenous People’s Day

People speak about their sacred site known as Juristac.
Rain dance ceremony in San Juan Bautista on Oct. 10. Photo by Jonathan Crowther.
Rain dance ceremony in San Juan Bautista on Oct. 10. Photo by Jonathan Crowther.
Rain dance ceremony in San Juan Bautista on Oct. 10. Photo by Jonathan Crowther.
Rain dance ceremony in San Juan Bautista on Oct. 10. Photo by Jonathan Crowther.
Rain dance ceremony in San Juan Bautista on Oct. 10. Photo by Jonathan Crowther.
Rain dance ceremony in San Juan Bautista on Oct. 10. Photo by Jonathan Crowther.
Rain dance ceremony in San Juan Bautista on Oct. 10. Photo by Jonathan Crowther.
Rain dance ceremony in San Juan Bautista on Oct. 10. Photo by Jonathan Crowther.

Since July, Laynee and her husband Sonne Reyna have been hosting a rain dance at the plaza in front of Mission San Juan Bautista. On Oct. 10, the event included an educational outreach in honor of Indigenous People’s Day celebrated on Oct. 11. 

The event included speeches by local residents of indigenous ancestry with a focus on preserving their sacred sites and landscapes in the region such as the area known as Juristac, which extends from Santa Clara County to San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. 

“Juristac is the most sacred ceremonial site to the Amah Mutsun People,” a press release by South Bay Indigenous Solidarity states. 

There is a nationwide push to adopt Indigenous People’s Day as a holiday to celebrate the history and contributions of Native Americans, typically on the same day of Columbus Day, the second Monday in October, according to History.  

It also states there are activists who want to replace Columbus Day altogether because they argue “holidays, statues, and other memorials to Columbus sanitize his actions—which include the enslavement of Native Americans—while giving him credit for “discovering” a place where people already lived.”

Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937. 

President Joe Biden became the first U.S. president to issue a proclamation on Indigenous Day. 

“For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures,” Biden said in the proclamation. “Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.  We also recommit to supporting a new, brighter future of promise and equity for Tribal Nations — a future grounded in Tribal sovereignty and respect for the human rights of Indigenous people in the Americas and around the world.” 

This was the third year that California recognized Indigenous People’s Day.

“The first peoples of this place descend from one of the largest, most diverse populations of Native peoples in the nation,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in his proclamation. “And, despite all odds, they have persisted in the face of successive waves of newcomers-sometimes hostile, seeking to extract, displace and destroy, and sometimes hopeful, seeking a better future for their children. Since that time, California has welcomed Indigenous peoples from all places, all of whom we now call fellow Californians.”

 

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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.