Even though it might now he hard to notice, Boulder is on Native American land.

To acknowledge that fact, East Window, an art gallery on 4550 Broadway St., held an Indigenous People’s Month Celebration and Community Gathering on Sunday. The gathering honored indigenous traditions and stories.

Rose Red Elk, of the Lakota tribe and better known by her Native American traditional name and stage name Red Feather Woman, shared Native stories with the several dozen people who gathered for the five-hour event. She told the story of the medicine wheel, where people of all cultures come together to create balance for the earth through the elements. She sang her song “Keepers of the Earth,” and had attendees sing with her.

Red Feather Woman said that while she loves that there is a month for celebrating indigenous people, it should be an everyday recognition. She said that it is community gatherings that help teach non-Native Americans about her culture and help to give back to that community. It is special to her to tell Native stories in person, and see people’s faces and feel the energy in a room.

“It’s important to be able to keep the culture alive, and that’s why I do it,” Red Feather Woman said.

Red Feather Woman left corporate America in 1997, and has been pursuing the arts and sharing Indigenous stories since.

Zay Alejandro Rios plays a prayer song on the medicine flute. (Daily Camera Staff)

Plentywolf Medicine Youth Group offered attendees the opportunity to make art, listen to stories and participate in songs.

Plentywolf Medicine Youth Group has partnered with Shining Mountain Waldorf School. Group member Charlie Plentywolf and his daughter teach students about the history of Native art and how to make it. His daughter is the first Native American to attend the school, and she has a full scholarship to attend.

“It started with some dreamcatchers, and it just took off from there,” Plentywolf said.

The dreamcatcher starts with wrapping a ring base with the string of choice, being mindful of tension so that it will not unravel. A different string is used to make the knotted art inside, being careful of where each knot lands and pulling the string towards oneself, as one would pull the dream to themselves. Plentywolf said making dreamcatchers teaches the maker about patience, humility and other virtues.

Eryn Lula Plentywolf teaches how to use a bead loom and create Native American art, that she learned how to make as a child. (Daily Camera Staff)
Eryn Lula Plentywolf, off camera, teaches an attendee how to use a bead loom and create Native American art that she learned how to make as a child. (Daily Camera Staff)

His daughter, Eryn Lula Plentywolf, was at the event teaching how to make beaded artwork. She said that she has been making beaded work since she could remember. Eryn Plentywolf taught attendees how to use a bead loom and weave beads together to create jewelry. She said that when she lived on a reservation, she would sell her art to help pay for gas and other expenses.

East Window Founder Todd Herman wanted to acknowledge living on ancestral Native American land. He is family friends with Charlie Plentywolf and wanted to use Thanksgiving weekend as a chance to recognize Indigenous people.

Plentywolf said having the celebration after Thanksgiving is important to him, and helps non-Native Americans start to reframe their view of Thanksgiving.

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Andrea Grajeda
2022-11-28 00:27:45
Boulder Daily Camera

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