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September 13, 2019

Discover San Francisco Art Commission's American Indian Initiative, "The Continuous Thread"

This October, the San Francisco Arts Commission will launch a massive Native American initiative called “The Continuous Thread,” consisting of public events, concerts, art exhibitions, and much more. The aim of “Continuous Thread” is to present modern Indigenous people, culture, and traditions more accurately to dispel dated stereotypes.

From October to December, the events will be centered around Pioneer Monument at Civic Center and Alcatraz Island. Pioneer Monument featured “Early Days,” a statue portraying the Spanish colonization of California and oppression of Indigenous Peoples that was removed in 2018 due to its racist undertones.

Alcatraz has been a symbol of Native American strength and their fight for freedom. From 1969 to 1971, a group of Native Americans known as the Indians of All Tribes occupied Alcatraz Island in protest of the U.S. government not giving back the former federal land to the Native people who once lived there. Eventually, the protesters were forced out by the federal government, but not before sparking an Indian rights movement that continues today.

Check out the complete list of events and activities below.

“The Continuous Thread: Celebrating Our Interwoven Histories, Identities and Contributions”

This exhibition features the photographic works of Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie, Jean Melesaine, and Britt Bradley. The exhibition highlights the local Indigenous Peoples through visual and multimedia formats.

  • When: Oct. 4 – Dec. 14, Opening reception: Oct. 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Where: San Francisco Art Commission Main Gallery, 401 Van Ness Ave., Ste. 126
  • Cost: FREE
  • Info:

“Reclaiming Space: Projected Portraits of the American Indian Community”

The San Francisco Arts Commission invited members of the diverse American Indian community to be photographed on the now vacant 4th plinth of the Pioneer Monument, where the Early Days sculpture once stood, as an honorific and respectful tribute to Indigenous Peoples. These powerful and dignified portraits will be projected onto the walls of the buildings that surround the monument, San Francisco Main Library and Asian Art Museum, and will enable the American Indian Community to purify and reclaim the site from its long association with indignity and to imbue it with a new hope for a more equitable future.

  • When: Oct. 4 – Oct. 11, starting at dusk
  • Where: San Francisco Main Library and Asian Art Museum
  • Cost: Free
  • Info:

Indigenous Peoples Day Music and Arts Festival

This day marks the one-year anniversary of San Francisco’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day and the removal of the “Early Days” sculpture from Pioneer Monument in San Francisco’s Civic Center. This celebrates with Native American art, music, and vendors.

  • When: Saturday, Oct. 14, 12-3:30 p.m.
  • Where: Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission St. between Third and Fourth streets
  • Cost: Free
  • Info:

Tommy Orange at the Koret

Award-winning novelist Tommy Orange will present his work and engage in a conversation with Poet Laureate, Kim Shuck.

  • Who: Oct. 16, 6 p.m.
  • Where: Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St.
  • Cost: Free
  • Info:

Native American Fashion Show

Indigenous fashion designers will show their collection, using the Pioneer Monument as a runway. The show will work to bring awareness to murdered and missing Indigenous women.

Native American Heritage Month at the San Francisco Public Library

The San Francisco Arts Commission will partner with the Public Library to curate an exhibition and related programming featuring weekly Poetry Jams led by Poet Laureate, Kim Shuck.

  • When: Oct. 26 – Nov. 30
  • Where: San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St.
  • Cost: Free
  • Info:

44th Annual American Indian Film Festival

The American Indian Film Institute is the premiere Native American media and cultural arts exposition in the West Coast and its annual film festival is the world’s oldest forum dedicated to Native American cinema.

  • When: Oct. 10 – Nov. 2. See website for show times
  • Where: Films will be shown at Brava Theater, with awards presented at the Presidio Theater on Nov. 2
  • Cost: $5 – $15
  • Info:

Native American Heritage Month at San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

An exhibition of portraits from the Early Days Photo Shoot will be exhibited on the mezzanine level of Terminal 3, while shorts by Native American filmmakers will be presented at SFO Museum’s Video Arts screening room in the International Terminal Departures Lobby.

  • When: Oct. 10 – Dec. 4
  • Where: SFO Terminal 3 mezzanine, International Terminal Departures Lobby
  • Cost: Free
  • Info:

Annual American Indian Heritage Celebration

This annual gathering honors American Indian culture by bringing together the American Indian community, local heroes, and political leaders who have worked to strengthen American Indian initiatives to celebrate with song, dance, and food. This year’s celebration will feature the kick off for the American Indian Cultural Center of San Francisco.

  • When: Nov. 13, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Where: San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Pl
  • Cost: Free
  • Info:

“Red Power on Alcatraz: Perspective 50 Years Later”

In 1969, a group of Native American activists called the Indians of All Tribes arrived on Alcatraz. This new exhibit and series of cultural program on Alcatraz tells the story of the 19-month occupation of the island, a watershed moment in the movement for Native American civil rights.

50th Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz

The National Parks Service, working with the Indians of All Tribes, will host a series of events on Alcatraz Island to honor the veterans of the occupation.

Honoring 50 Years of Activism, featuring Buffy Sainte-Marie

This celebration will feature acclaimed recording artist Buffy Sainte-Marie and will honor activists that have led various Indigenous resistance movements over the last 50 years. The event will also include a reception in the San Francisco Art Commission Main Gallery.

Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering

The Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering is a commemoration of the occupation of Alcatraz and is a one-day event.

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