On Monday morning, lengthy earlier than the rising solar broke by way of the clouds, 53 Stanford college students boarded a ferry from San Francisco to Alcatraz Island. After a steep uphill hike, they arrived at a cliff overlooking the San Francisco skyline. There, surrounding a vivid fireplace, they merged right into a crowd of tons of of individuals celebrating the 2023 Dawn Ceremony.
This ceremony, organized yearly since 1975 (besides in 2020 when it was held over radio), brings collectively Indigenous folks from throughout the Americas to share chants, prayers, songs, dances and speeches.
In keeping with the organizers, the Worldwide Indian Treaty Council (IITC), the Dawn Ceremony connects the bigger Native American neighborhood, acknowledges one’s ancestors and remembers a historic protest that occurred on Alcatraz Island.
In 1969, six years after the closing of Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, a gaggle of 89 Native Individuals sailed to Alcatraz Island from San Francisco Bay. Dubbed Indians of All Tribes, the protestors aimed to occupy the land on the grounds that the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie required that unused federal land be given again to Native Individuals.
They managed to bypass a Coast Guard blockade which had been arrange after earlier takeover makes an attempt. The occupation ended after 19 months, when armed federal marshals and FBI brokers swarmed the island.
Taily Terena, a local weather activist from the Terena Nation of Brazil, spoke on the invitation of IITC. Terena known as the celebration “an excellent day to be Indigenous” and acknowledge Indigenous resistance within the face of ongoing colonial legacies. Terena additionally acknowledged Native folks from the Southern Hemisphere, together with these of Guatemala, Mexico and Panama.
For scholar TaSheena Thompson ’26, the ceremony was a possibility to be united with the Native neighborhood.
“Native folks at Stanford are seen as a minority, so being a part of a neighborhood and having the ability to come right here and rejoice at the present time as Indigenous folks is tremendous particular,” Thompson mentioned.
After kicking off with an Ohlone welcome, the occasion featured conventional performances by Pomo dancers, Voladores de Papantla, Aztec (Mexica) dancers and All Nations drum. An Intertribal Pow-Wow dance circle included a wide range of types equivalent to Jingle Costume, Grass, Males Fancy and Fancy Scarf Dancers.
Lauren Rose Reyes ’25 hopes that “within the close to future, Native college students on campus can efficiently work with the College to get Indigenous Peoples Day formally acknowledged by Stanford.” Reyes hoped this might make it simpler to take part in traditions like Dawn Ceremony, particularly if college students wanted to overlook lessons.
College students closed Indigenous Peoples Day with a candlelight vigil hosted by the Stanford American Indian Group on White Plaza, sharing tales, poems, songs and conventional dances. Throughout one efficiency, dancers Kanoe Aiu M.S. ‘23 and Camille Slagle ’24 from the Pacific Islander Pupil Affiliation danced to “Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai” (“Vegetation of the Sea”).
Kanoe defined that they selected the track to honor Isabella Aiona Abbott, Stanford’s first Native Hawaiian college member and first full feminine professor within the organic sciences division. Abbott devoted her life to understanding the ocean, an vital a part of Pacific Islander tradition.
In 1898, eight years after the College opened its doorways to college students, John Milton Oskison made historical past as the primary Native American to graduate from Stanford College.
At present, there are greater than 450 Indigenous undergraduate and graduate college students representing greater than 50 tribes and island communities learning at Stanford.
Mahina Kaomea ’25 and Kyran Romero ‘24 carried out an unique track impressed by the journey to the Dawn Ceremony. Surrounded by the candlelight, Kaomea sang, “I woke from my ferry fever dream to laughter, to associates who’ve turn into household. And I assumed that possibly we’re these ‘Natives from all tribes’ that our ancestors dreamed of, able to take all of it again.”