Awakening Kulu: Indigenous Peoples Days return in early October |

Awakening Kulu: Indigenous Peoples Days return in early October

At noon Saturday, Oct. 10, the traditional Maidu ceremony, “Calling Back the Salmon” will be performed.
Submitted photo |

Schedule of Events

Friday, Oct. 9

9 a.m.-4 p.m. — A youth program with Rick Berry will be open to the public, at Kulu. Children will enjoy traditional storytelling, song and dance as well as wild food demonstrations. Preregister with Rick Berry (530-265-0236 or

6 p.m. — Opening Ceremony and Round Dance on the corner of Broad and Union streets in Nevada City.

Saturday, Oct. 10

7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. — on the Yuba River at Kulu. The day begins with a multicultural Sunrise Ceremony, followed by Chairman Ryberg honoring the Spirit Runners. Storytelling will be from 9-11 a.m., and at noon the traditional Maidu ceremony, “Calling Back the Salmon”. Following the Sunrise Ceremony, Salmon Hunters will harpoon a salmon in the Yuba River and join with the Spirit Runners to carry the salmon from Hallwood to Kulu, where they enter the ceremonial space. During ceremony the public is asked to observe in silence. (Please, no recordings, photos, cell phones, or animals.) Afterwards everyone will share in a salmon feast, honoring the sacrifice made by the Salmon People. The tribe will provide salmon and rice, and ask that you join in with a potluck dish of your own. From 2- 5 p.m. a cultural celebration and presentation continues, followed by our honored evening guests, the California Bear Dancers.

Native and other vendors will be selling handmade crafts and food on site Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.

Sunday, Oct. 11

9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. — Talking Circles and celebration. Opening Ceremony at 9 a.m. with Thoz Womenz at the Mother Drum, and words from spiritual elder Fred ‘Coyote’ Downey, Chairman Don Ryberg and Jason Ryberg. At 11 a.m. an indigenous Women’s Circle share their lives, their work, and their perspectives. The Descendant’s Circle, at 2 p.m. tells stories and expresses the impact ancestors have had on their lives. Interspersed throughout the day will be music and storytelling. The weekend at Kulu will come to a close at 5:30 p.m. with the Prout Memorial Potluck Dinner, remembering all those who have recently passed.

9 a.m. – 5 p.m. — Revitalizing Indigenous Food and Medicine” will share knowledge through hands-on workshops, harvesting and preparing wild and native plants, educating to heal and nourish one’s self through organic and wild-crafting methods and deepening our awareness of Mother Earth and all life.

Native dancers, storytellers, singers and supporters are:

Fred ‘Coyote’ Downey - spiritual elder, Peter Coyote - actor, activist, and writer,

Johnny Moses - Tulalip master storyteller, Thoz Womenz Drum, Marshall Merino – traditional Maidu singer and storyteller, Lawrence Laughing - traditional Haudenosaunee longhouse singer, Grayson Coney - Maidu cultural director and storyteller, Otsigeya - women’s drum, Roland Swallow - traditional Oglala lakota songs, Nakai Family Singers - Saami songs, California Bear Dancers,

Group Kallpulli Keutzallcoatl Ocelotl - Aztec ceremonial dancers

Ka Hale Hula O Pilialohakalani O Hilo - traditional Hawaiian dancers

GV Taiko Drummers, Anni McCann - Ancestor’s song, Soli Yamandi - Maidu song, Mary Ann Myers - N.A. flute and storyteller, Kimberly Shining Star - storyteller, Mike Tomson - storyteller, and others…

Location: Kulu, “Sycamore Ranch Park,” 5390 Highway #20, Brown’s Valley, CA is midway between Nevada City and Marysville, 3 miles east of the Yuba River Bridge. Sycamore Ranch Park is owned and operated by Yuba County.

Radio: IPD Sunday event will be broadcast live on KVMR 89.5/ 105.1 FM, Nevada City, and affiliates in Placerville at 88.3 FM, and 104.7 FM in Woodland.

Monday programming is broadcast live 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. from KVMR-FM studio, Nevada City. Tune into live stream on

The Tsi Akim Maidu would like to thank all volunteers, KVMR, Smartsville Fire Dept., Nevada City, CA., and especially Yuba County.

Indigenous Peoples Days, IPD, is a drug and alcohol free, all-volunteer event.

He-sa-sa-ka! The Tsi Akim Maidu welcomes everyone to the 18th annual four day Indigenous Peoples Days celebration Oct. 9-12.

Indigenous Peoples Days is the effort of the tribe and supporters to encourage education and healing by replacing Columbus Day with a native based event, sharing history and culture through ceremony, celebration and feast. All are invited to embrace their respective cultures, as we are all indigenous from somewhere. Indigenous Peoples Days is a free, all-volunteer event and donations are encouraged and appreciated.

The theme for this year’s event is “Awakening Kulu”. Kulu was an historic fishing village site on the lower Yuba River, to which the Tsi Akim Maidu has ties. (It means “dark place or night” in the Maidu language.) When we lose a fishing village site, the great tragedy is the loss of ceremonies, songs, animals and a way of life. The tribe’s vision is to awaken Kulu to a restored fishing village. This will be an educational center for children and students of all ages to learn about the Salmon People’s water environment in our traditional ways.

Fred “Coyote” Downey says, “Our language and ceremonies define who we are. Without them, we don’t know ourselves, therefore, how can we call ourselves Native?”

The four-day family event begins Friday, Oct. 9, with a day-long youth program at Kulu. Later that evening the Tsi Akim Maidu will hold an Opening Ceremony and Round Dance at 6 p.m., in downtown Nevada City on the corners of Union and Broad streets, (followed by a 7:30 p.m. fundraiser and book signing with Peter Coyote at the Yuba River Charter School Auditorium, 505 Main St., Nevada City). All day Saturday and Sunday the public is invited to celebrate at Kulu, “Sycamore Ranch Park”, 5390 Hwy 20, Browns Valley.

On Monday, Indigenous Peoples Days moves to the radio airwaves, broadcasting live at 89.5FM from the studio of KVMR in Nevada City.

For more on this event, see this story at Learn more at, or

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