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HomeLocal NewsIndigenous People's Day PHX Fest 2023: Date, time, what to expect

Indigenous People’s Day PHX Fest 2023: Date, time, what to expect

The second annual festival will be held on October 9 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and include skateboard competitions, art installations and more.

PHOENIX — When Autumn Rose Williams hears people talk about Native communities, it’s usually in the “past tense.”

Williams serves as public relations and media coordinator Aboriginal Day PHX FestivalAboriginal Day is a celebration of Aboriginal history as much as it is a celebration of the Aboriginal people who live in the valley today.

“It’s important to tell our history, our stories and make sure that we as Aboriginal people are seen, heard, understood and respected,” Williams said. “The Aboriginal PHX Festival really amplifies, respects and showcases the Aboriginal people in the valley of beauty.”

The annual Aboriginal Day PHX Festival returns to the Valley for the second year on October 9 with the theme “Making the valley local.”

Here’s everything you need to know before you go:


As someone who “worked from the ground up,” Candace Hamana said it means a lot to her to see the festival grow. Hamana is one of the co-owners of the company Cahokia, an Aboriginal-led, Aboriginal women-owned art and entrepreneurial space Host festivals.

“It’s the most inspiring thing to see the community come together through collaboration, in-kind sponsorship and community support to meet our needs and meet our needs in this moment,” Humana said.

Cahokia PHX hosted the first festival last October, and this year the Gila River Indian Community and Becker Council joined the festival as sponsors.


The festival isn’t the only event people can attend. This year, attendees can attend a launch and gallery event at the Phoenix Art Museum on October 4 from 6 to 9 p.m., as well as an Indigenous film screening on October 7 at Burton Barr Central Library.

The festival will feature skateboard competitions, a pop-up market with more than 120 Aboriginal artisans and food vendors, musical performances, murals and art installations, as well as exhibitions at the Heard Museum. The festival is free to attend, but attendees are encouraged to RSVP.

Also this year is the inaugural Sacred Cycle of Life Bike Tour hosted by RVSO, Heavy Pedal Phoenix and DoorDash. The ride is from 8 a.m. to noon on October 9, and advance registration is required to attend.

Aboriginal Day as an urban holiday

It was also the first Aboriginal Day to be recognized as a paid city holiday.

Phoenix announced Aboriginal Day, April 19, 2023, is a paid city holiday. City offices will be closed and city services will follow a similar pattern to Martin Luther King Day.

Humana remembers getting a news alert on her phone earlier this year when Aboriginal Day was designated a paid city holiday.

Humana said Mayor Kate Gallego’s announcement helps indigenous tribes everywhere feel “seen and celebrated,” but it’s just a small step that’s “long overdue.”

“The mayor’s announcement … gives Native communities the opportunity to be recognized for their ingenuity and contributions to Arizona’s pre-statehood history,” Humana said. “This is a positive step in that direction. , but we want it to be treated more as a call to action and at least be considered a national holiday. It’s expired.”

Looking forward to the holidays

Both Humana and Williams said they hope festival-goers will gain a better understanding of the Native landscape as a whole, from the history and legacy of Native communities before Arizona became a state to the Native business owners in the community today , artists and neighbors.

“There’s history, there’s stories, there’s culture,” Humana said. “This is not just a thing of the past.”

From film screenings and skateboard competitions to artists and vendors, PHX Aboriginal Day will celebrate the stories of the many Aboriginal people and communities in the valley, Williams said.

“It’s really, really important for people to really appreciate and respect who we are as Aboriginal people, through Aboriginal narratives,” Williams said.

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