Idyllwild Arts to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day with Two-Day Event

Free & educational programming from famed indigenous performers & scholars | October 8 & 9, 2023.

By: Sep. 13, 2023
Idyllwild Arts to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day with Two-Day Event

Idyllwild Arts presents its second annual Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration on October 8 & October 9 at their Idyllwild, CA campus. Idyllwild Arts is an institution rooted in respect, reverence, and support for Native American people, culture, and art, and is the only residential arts high school in the country to offer a Native American Arts Center led by a Native American Executive Director, Shaliyah Ben (Diné). Idyllwild Arts respectfully acknowledges the Qawishpa Cahuillangnah (also known as Cahuilla Band of Indians) on whose land the Idyllwild Arts community resides.

This event is integral to the school's mission to change lives through the transformative power of art. The special public program is designed to educate and uplift the Native American community with guest artists, scholars and performers who will share a vast array of knowledge based on traditional philosophies. The following programming is free and open to the public.

October 8, 2023:

The festivities will kick off with a welcome reception at 2:00 p.m. on the patio of William M. Lowman Concert Hall at the Idyllwild Arts campus, featuring light appetizers and beverages, hosted by Idyllwild Arts President, Pamela Jordan and Executive Director of the Native American Arts Center, Shaliyah Ben (Diné). Learn more about the recent expansion of the widely popular Native American Arts Program and how you can get involved.

Following the reception and presentation, guests will be welcomed into the Concert Hall for a concert presented by Native American Music Award (NAMA)-winning pianist, Connor Chee at 3:00 p.m. The Navajo pianist and composer (b. 1987) is known for combining his classical piano training with his Diné (Navajo) heritage. Chee made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 12 after winning a gold medal in the World Piano Competition.

October 9, 2023:

This free day-long event includes public programming scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., which will creatively and thoughtfully celebrate the many contributions Indigenous People make to humanity.

9:00 a.m. | Margaret A. Cargill Commons, Idyllwild Arts Campus

The day of celebration will commence with a welcome by Sean Milanovich, Ph.D., Vice President of the Native American Land Conservancy. Milanovich will provide insight on the significance of the land on which the Idyllwild Arts campus is situated and share thoughts about the importance of Indigenous-led land stewardship. Bird Singers from neighboring Cahuilla communities will share social songs to usher in the day designed to celebrate and uplift Indigeneity in the arts.

9:30 & 10:45 a.m. | William M. Lowman Concert Hall & IAF Theatre, Idyllwild Arts Campus

Event attendees will be invited to two separate morning presentations; after each presentation, attendees will switch venues:

William M. Lowman Concert Hall will host Derrick Suwaima Davis (Hopi/Choctaw) and Ryon Polequaptewa (Hopi), who will present "DANCING WITH THE UNIVERSE | Native Style," an original theatrical work that tells a story of seasons, cycles, and the value of respecting the natural order of the universe. Davis is a seven-time world champion Hoop Dancer and the Artistic Director of Native Trails, an intertribal collaborative. He has been featured on the covers of leading publications such as Smithsonian and Native Peoples and was once named Cosmopolitan's "Man of the Year."

IAF Theatre will host Bethany Yellowtail (Northern Cheyenne), who will share a presentation about her work as one of the nation's top fashion designers. A 2009 graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, she founded her label in 2015 upon leaving a career in corporate fashion. Driven by the desire to see herself and her communities authentically and equitably represented in mainstream fashion, Yellowtail has become a leading voice in the fashion industry. She recently won a grant from the Visa She's Next in Fashion program to fund the expansion of her clothing brand, B. Yellowtail. Her mission is to share authentic Indigenous designs with the world, empowering the next generation.

12:00 p.m. | Holmes Amphitheatre, Idyllwild Arts Campus

Idyllwild Arts will be offering a Native Foods Luncheon on a first-come, first-served basis, with Indigenous-inspired fare including lean meats, corn, beans, squash, and crowd favorites like frybread! While visitors enjoy lunch, Indigenous R&B singer and TikTok sensation Tia Wood will perform an outdoor concert. Wood is a 23-year-old Cree and Salish singer and creator based in Vancouver, British Columbia who has garnered international attention for her unique talent. Vogue Magazinerecently praised Wood as "one of the most inspiring, and most stylish creators out there".

5:00 - 8:00 p.m. | Creekstone Inn, 54950 Pine Crest Ave, Idyllwild, CA 92549

Following an afternoon of student-facing workshops in which Idyllwild Arts Academy students will be joined by students from the Sherman Indian High School in Riverside, CA for specially curated educational sessions. This special invitation for Sherman students provides an important point of access for Native American students who otherwise would have not had the opportunity to meet and connect with these Native artists. The public programming will recommence at 5:00 p.m. in the town of Idyllwild at the Creekstone Inn with a one-of-a-kind concert by Native folk & blues rocker Keith Secola (Ojibwe). Secola is an award-winning rock/folk musician best known for his upbeat song "NDN Kars" from the film, Dance Me Outside, considered across Indian Country to be a uniting anthem. Hoop Dancing demonstrations will also take place and additional musical guests will join in on the fun. The evening will also feature a discussion about the recent expansion of the Idyllwild Arts Native American Arts Program into a newly established Center. Learn about the goals of the Native American Arts Center and how it will contribute to the rich artistic and cultural fabric of the town of Idyllwild. Light refreshments and beverages will be provided.

For the full event schedule, please visit

WHEN: Sunday, October 8, 2023 & Monday, October 9, 2023

WHERE: Idyllwild Arts Academy, 52500 Temecula Rd, Idyllwild CA 92549 and the Creekstone Inn, 54950 Pine Crest Ave, Idyllwild, CA 92549


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