Oct. 5, 2023 By Rachel Butler
Indigenous People’s Day (IPD) is a day that recognizes the contributions, resilience, and diversity of indigenous people in the United States. This day is a particularly important one for Queens Botanical Garden to recognize, as Executive Director Evie Hantzopoulos told QNS.
“QBG is situated on the traditional land of the Matinecock people, the first people of Flushing, Queens. When we talk about the Garden, it’s important to acknowledge that its history starts before colonization, not when the Garden was founded at the 1939 World’s Fair. Through our living land acknowledgement and by commemorating IPD , we pay respect to the Matinecock people, past, present and future, their ancestors who have stewarded the land for generations and their continuing presence on this land today.”
“We honor these origins by continuing to steward the land with sustainable practices, love for community, and commitment to equity, as well as helping to educate the public about the history, significance, contributions, and impact of Indigenous peoples and culture,” Hantzopoulos added.
Special events planned for Oct. 9 include a guided walk spotlighting native plants and their significance, which will take place at 1 p.m. and will be led by Shane Weeks of the Shinnecock Nation.
There will also be screenings of short films to educate visitors about the Native communities of Seawnhaky (Long Island) throughout the day. QBG’s one-acre farm will allow people to explore Indigenous foodways from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a talk about indigenous farming practices scheduled for 2 p.m. There will also be story time and a crafts drop in time from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
“The day is for people of all ages and all backgrounds. By learning more about Indigenous Peoples, we are all able to better understand who we are as a nation and gain a fuller understanding of our nation’s history,” Hantzopoulos said.
The Garden is not asking anyone to pay a specific fee for any of the events or for entrance on the day, but instead is asking for donations to two Indigenous groups: Shinnecock Kelp Farmers and Niamuck Land Trust.
“We are waiving our usual admission fees and instead asking visitors to make donations to two Indigenous groups who are doing important work: Shinnecock Kelp Farmers and Niamuck Land Trust. Any donations collected will be given to those two groups,” Hantzopoulos said.
Shinnecock Kelp Farmers are a multi-generation group of six women of the Shincock Indian Nation who work with the sea and seaweed to capture carbon and nitrogen that has poisoned the waters of Shinnecock Bay in Long Island.
The Niamuck Land Trust is a group that works to protect, preserve and purchase burial sites and other culturally significant sites sacred to the Shinnecock Nation and their neighboring indigenous communities.
For more information about Indigenous People’s Day at the Queens Botanical Garden you can visit their queensbotanical.org.