Five-day Indigenous Peoples Day celebration hosted by Tsi Akim Maidu Tribe |

Five-day Indigenous Peoples Day celebration hosted by Tsi Akim Maidu Tribe

The opening ceremony for Indigenous Peoples Day is an ancienct Maidu tradition called, "Calling Back the Salmon," which will take place at the Sycamore Ranch located on the south Yuba River.
Submitted photo to Prospector |


WHO: The Tsi Akim Maidu present

WHAT: Indigenous Peoples Days.

Food & crafts, vendors, camping, drug & alcohol free.

WHEN: Oct. 5–9

WHERE: Sycamore Ranch Park

5390 Highway 20, Browns Valley, CA



An ancient Maidu riverside ceremony called “Calling Back the Salmon” is one highlight of the upcoming 20th annual Indigenous Peoples Days, a five-day celebration of native history and culture hosted by the Tsi Akim Maidu Tribe and the Yuba County Water Agency, with support from KVMR radio, on Oct. 5-9.

The public is invited to the free event at Kulu, the Maidu name for Sycamore Ranch Park located on the south Yuba River.

Specific activities include a Sunrise Ceremony, the Roberto Garcia Spirit Run, the California Bears Ceremony, a community feast, two days of youth activities featuring Rick Berry and the Fox Walkers with Tribal Elders, storytelling, Johnny Moses, live music, the Descendants Circle, Women’s Circle and Veteran’s Circle, and camping on the Yuba River at the Kulu park.

Spiritual Elder Fred Coyote Downey of the Round Valley reservation will lead ceremonies over the weekend.

Songs will be offered by Bear Fox, founder of Ahkwesasne Women Singers — a group that has worked since 1999 to protect and preserve the Kanienkeha (Mohawk) language, customs, stories, and oral traditions that are passed down from grandmother to grand-daughter.

Twenty years ago, tribal members held a candlelight vigil on Broad Street, Nevada City, to protest Columbus Day.

At the same time, two blocks away, also in reaction to Columbus Day, volunteer broadcasters at KVMR Community Radio organized a day of programming to honor native peoples. Tribal members and their local community supporters soon joined together.

Now, 20 years later, the event has grown to five days of celebration of native history and culture.

The tribe, with native and non-native supporters, continue to educate the public about the historic trauma of the genocide since the Gold Rush, when Maidu were force marched across the Sacramento Valley and over 99 percent of the Maidu people died.

At Indigenous Peoples Days, native and non-native people try to understand the ongoing impact of these “soul wounds,” and to honor and respect native culture.

Over the last twenty years, a variety of tribal members from around the world, as well as noted native activists, have joined the Maidu in this celebration.

The local Indigenous Peoples Days celebration has attracted Maori healers from New Zealand, natives from Hawaii and Peru, Hopi from Arizona, indigenous peoples from Russia and Africa and Sammi from northern Europe.

John Trudell, Russell Means, Fred Downey (Coyote), native activists of AIM reunited at a previous Indigenous Peoples Days celebration. Every year, the Descendants Circle attracts family members of historic native figures who gather to honor their ancestors.

The language of the Tsi Akim, almost extinct, was recently revived and taught by a Tsi Akim member, who taught native and non-natives the language; at Indigenous Peoples Days, students have performed skits in that Maidu dialect.

The Indigenous Peoples Days celebration has also provided the basis of community support for the Tsi Akim in its effort to regain federal recognition.

The Tsi Akim, like many California tribes, does not exist, officially, in the eyes of the federal government, despite ongoing legal efforts.

The 20th annual Indigenous Peoples Days, an organic local effort, is part of a national process of shifting focus away from Columbus Day and the history of white conquest, to recognize and heal from the trauma of native history, and to honor and celebrate native culture.

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