How to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Alexandria

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an opportunity to celebrate Native American cultures and learn about the Indigenous history of Alexandria and the enduring, diverse Indigenous identities throughout the nation. This year on October 10, 2022, and beyond, find ways to recognize the holiday in Alexandria, from viewing the oldest artifact ever found in the city to purchasing artwork from today’s Native creators.

Calendar of Offerings (Note: Gallery and museum are not open on Monday, October 10)

  • Indigenous Peoples’ Day Exhibit Unveiling at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum: Tuesday, October 11, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Alexandria Archaeology Museum: Open Wednesdays to Sundays; times vary
  • Intertribal Creatives gallery: Closed on on Indigenous People’s Day; Open Thursdays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Interpretive signs and markers: Anytime

Learn About Archaeological History

Image Credit: Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria

Visit the Alexandria Archaeology Museum on Tuesday, October 11 for the unveiling of a new exhibit case, also available online. Learn how archaeologists study changes in stone projectile point technology to determine the age of an archaeological site and how the area was used for thousands of years by Native Americans. 

While at the museum, view historical artifacts like the Clovis Point, a tool similar to an arrowhead that is over 13,000 years old, making it the oldest artifact ever found in Alexandria. The Clovis Point, discovered in Alexandria’s Freedmen Cemetery site in 2007, is about four inches long, like a Swiss-Army knife, and served as a multi-purpose tool for Indigenous inhabitants.

Enjoy a Sale at Intertribal Creatives

Image Credit: Intertribal Creatives

Located on ancestral Tauxenent and Pamunkey land in Old Town, Intertribal Creatives is a free and fair-trade gallery and shop showcasing the artistic, creative and entrepreneurial spirit of Indigenous artists across North America. Its core mission is to support creative Natives, celebrate Native culture and connect Native people.

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, though the gallery is closed, enjoy 10% off every purchased order online (with code “INDIGENOUS2022”). Look for fresh inventory from new and existing artists. Year-round, the gallery hosts a variety of cultural workshops and events, such as beading classes on November 5 and 6 at the Durant Center. Plus, Intertribal Creative’s community room is open for members of the public during gallery hours to relax throughout the day with lunch or a book, or simply to enjoy the space.

Explore Wayfaring Signs Throughout the City

Image Credit: Evan Michio Photography for the City of Alexandria

For thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans and the founding of Alexandria in 1749, members of Indigenous nations seasonally lived in and traveled through the lands that would become the City of Alexandria. Just upriver from Alexandria, the river tumbles over a series of cataracts known as Great Falls, its last obstacle to the Chesapeake Bay. The falls form a barrier to fish traveling upstream to spawn each year, which in turn makes the area just downstream a good fishing and camping ground, used by Indigenous people for millennia. Learn about the daily lives of Alexandria’s original inhabitants at various wayfaring signs throughout the City, from trail signs at Potomac Yard to interpretive signage at Jones Point Park to Fort Ward’s display highlighting Native Americans’ involvement in the Civil War.

Find more things to do in Alexandria this fall here.

Header Image Credit: Walter Lamar

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