Indigenous Peoples Day

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The Indigenous Peoples’ Day Concert is an annual, artistic and cultural event to showcase Native American musicians in an attempt to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day officially in the City of Chicago. The concert brings together Chicago’s Native American, Indigenous communities, and the general public to celebrate a more inclusive holiday. The event includes history and knowledge between Native Americans, Columbus, and colonization with brochure handouts and the artists speaking about the importance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In future years, if Columbus Day is abolished we hope that this event will continue as a way to solidify artistic and cultural pride in Native American and Indigenous communities in Chicago for many generations.


Born and raised on the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, Indigenous front man Mato Nanji (Ma-TOE NON-gee) dedicates his latest release Time Is Coming (on Blues Bureau International) to the indigenous youth and all young people on the indigenous reservations.

Mato Nanji’s father, the late Greg Zephier, Sr., was a well-known and highly respected spiritual advisor and spokesperson for the International Indian Treaty Council. In addition to this leadership role, he was an accomplished musician and a member of the musical group, The Vanishing Americans. Formed by Greg and his brothers in the ‘60’s, The Vanishing Americans toured nationally and shared bills with such legends as Bonnie Raitt. Besides being heavily influenced by the music his father and uncles were making, Mato was exposed to Greg’s vast collection of blues records by legendary artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and B.B. King. Consequently, Mato embraced and began utilizing his own musical talent at a young age. With the experience, love and wisdom of their father to guide them, Mato, his brother, sister and cousin formed the band Indigenous while in their late teens.

Chicha Roots and Kichwa Runa

Chicha Roots is a psychedelic cumbia and chicha music band founded by three Kichwa (the largest indigenous group in South America) friends from Cotacachi, Ecuador. Their repertoire includes the classic songs from the golden age of Peruvian cumbia. Based in Chicago, the band has been part of many festivals inside and outside of Illinois. The current line-up of musicians are from Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia.

Kichwa Runa group is an all-female dance group made up of Kichwa mothers and their daughters. The mission of this group is the social cultural development of the new generations of Kichwas in Chicago through traditional dance and choreography. The group primarily performs “San Juanitos”, one of the most representative types of dance of the Kichwa culture in the Imbabura Province of Ecuador. This group is one component of the KICHWA RUNA NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION that serves the same mission of preserving the Kichwa culture in Illinois.

Galguez Laxá and Dizá

Galguez Laxá is an independent folkloric dance troupe from the Zapotec community of San Pablo Güilá, Santiago Matatlán, Tlacolula, Oaxaca made up of indigenous, Zapotec youth between the ages of 15-25. They seek to preserve the folkloric dances of the state of Oaxaca and take them to every corner of the world so that the footwork, humor, colors and food of this beautiful region can become known.

Dizá is an indigenous, four-member, rock band from San Pablo Güilá, Oaxaca, México whose songs are sung in the native Zapotec language of the region. The band was formed in 2015 as part of an effort to preserve the language along with its stories, legends, and myths that are being lost with the younger generations. The band has won awards locally and are cultural ambassadors and role models for their community both inside and outside of Mexico.

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