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Where to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day in the Bay Area

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OCTOBER 09, 2017

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Exploratorium was free to the public on Monday. In fact, it was open to the public, but only free for armed forces personnel and veterans. 

Today is the the 25th Indigenous People’s Day — a holiday first officially celebrated in Berkeley. So, what better way to celebrate and learn more about the day than in and around the Bay Area itself? We at the Clog have got you covered with a list of recommended places to check out in the coming week.

Indigenous People Sunrise Ceremony — Alcatraz

Feel like getting up early, like 5 a.m. early? If so, head over to Pier 33 in San Francisco so you can take a boat to Alcatraz Island and watch the sunrise. There’ll be three boats leaving the dock at 5:00, 5:15 and 5:30 a.m. respectively, so choose a time that’s convenient for you because the early morning start will definitely be worth it. This is a special event specifically to remember Native Americans of all tribes, so don’t miss out.

Indigenous People’s Day Pow Wow and Indian Market — Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park

Head on over to Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park on October 14th for a day of fun festivities. While the event isn’t today, you’ll be able to rest up from your early morning after watching the sun rise. There’s a lot to do in the park, so we’re listing some of our top picks for you to check out.

Starting at 10 a.m., Native California and Aztec dancers will be doing exhibition dances until noon. This is a great way to see and learn about different types of indigenous dances and hey, maybe you’ll learn how to bust a move or two!

During the day, there’ll also be a “Prettiest Shawl” contest. This will be in honor of Millie Ketcheshawno, who took part in the Alcatraz Island Occupation that requested the island be used to home a university for Native Americans amongst other things.


Usually closed on Mondays, the museum has decided to stay open for this holiday, allowing visitors to learn more about the world they live in. The museum is at Pier 15 so you might just want to spend the day in SF since you’ll probably already be there.

Coyote Hills Regional Park — Fremont

Just a BART ride away, the Coyote Hills Regional Park used to be inhabited by the Ohlone tribal ancestors. Become one with nature by going on a hike, bike ride or picnic. You can also partake in one of the Naturalist programs to learn a little bit more about the history of this beautiful park. Don’t pass up learning more about Native American culture at the Tuibun Ohlone Village Site as well, which was an important Native American archeological site.

While many of our lives may be busy with schoolwork, it’s definitely worth it to schedule time out of your day to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day. Given that the sunrise is today, and the Pow Wow and Market are on Oct. 14, you have plenty of time to attend both and learn about indigenous people.

Avanti Mehrotra is the assistant blog editor. Contact Avanti Mehrotra at [email protected].

OCTOBER 09, 2017