Nellie Meashintubby provides information about the upcoming Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in McAlester.

1. What is the mission of the event?

To increase the knowledge and understanding of the culture and what is means to be Indigenous. Also. To call attention to the Indigenous People in our area. Indigenous People’s Day is a day of remembrance of our ancestors, a means of removing the false idea or myth that Columbus discovered America, and to celebrate the survival, resilience and significant contributions to all people who live on this land. We are recognizing the contributions, history, culture, language, music and sacrifices made by Natives, the original inhabitants of this land. Native Americans utilize their traditions and inspire the ideals of self-governance and determination that are the framework of our Nation. It is on October 14, 2019. We would like for all community members to join us in this celebration.

2. What is scheduled to occur at the event?

We will have a speaker, Monte Randall from College of the Muscogee Nation, who will speak on being Indigenous and the history of Indigenous People.

We will be having various activities to include Chahta Singers, Stickball, Weapons exhibits, Chahta dancers, flute player, face painting, and story telling. We will have traditional foods that will be served.

If you want to participate in the parade be at 5th and Choctaw at 4:30 p.m. to line up and the parade will start at 5 p.m. We will walk down Choctaw St. and turn south on 3rd street where we will end at Chadick Park. If you want to participate in the events, please contact Chris Jacob at 918-470-8111 or Nellie Meashintubby at 918-470-4260. Our hope is that this event will continue to grow every year and with your help we can accomplish this goal.

3. When did McAlester first recognize the day and when was the first parade/celebration?

Back in 2016, there was a small group of local Indigenous people that included Nellie Meashintubby, Chris Jacob, Brooke Jacob, Nataya Meashintubby, Emmanuel Meashintubby, Chewelah Fry, Tawanna Byington, Ariana Byington, Serena Underwood, Larry Amos, Walter Amos, that requested Columbus Day be changed to Indigenous People’s Day. We were successful to get the item on the agenda.

I, Nellie Meashintubby addressed the McAlester City Council expressing my support of the resolution. I gave a review of the history of Columbus and how his actions had affected the Indigenous People of the lands.

Ariana Byington addressed the McAlester City Council giving a history of the Native Americans and commenting that November was Native American Month.

The McAlester City Council unanimously passed the resolution changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day in September, 2016. We began having the first Indigenous People’s Day celebration in October, 2017.

4. Who runs the event and do you need volunteers?

It is a grassroots effort by a small group of Indigenous People who are dedicated to increasing the knowledge and understanding of the culture and what it means to be Indigenous. As well as, to call attention to the Indigenous People in our area. We appreciate any donations and volunteers to help make this event successful.

5. How can people celebrate Indigenous People’s Day if they can’t make it to the event?

Participate in the music, food and various traditions while respecting the history and culture in their home or community. Increase their knowledge of the history and contributions of the Native Americans. Beginni