by Kara Platoni
Oakland's Intertribal Friendship House, the nation's oldest urban Native American community center, is facing closure if supporters can't raise $30,000 to pay off back taxes owed by the center. Alameda County is set to auction off the center if the money can't be paid by March 23. Established in 1955, the Intertribal Friendship House has been an integral part of Bay Area Native American activism, including the occupation of Alcatraz. Supporters have lined up an entire week's worth of "Save the Legacy" fundraising events, including two benefit concerts and several film screenings, in an attempt to raise some last-minute cash. The full text of the center's press release, with information on the fundraising events, after the jump.
Oldest Urban Native American Community Center in the Nation Under Threat! "Save the Legacy" Fundraiser Events Scheduled to Save the Intertribal Friendship House
Oakland , California - The Intertribal Friendship House (IFH), which is recognized as the oldest Urban Native American Community Center in the nation, is under threat of being lost forever. On Friday, March 23 the IFH will be placed on the Alameda County auction block due to unpaid taxes if necessary funds are not raised. Community members are taking action to raise $30,000 to save the center and preserve the legacy of this cultural and historical monument.
It has also served as the meeting place and organizing center for American Indian activism of the 1960s and '70s including the occupation of Alcatraz, the initiation of the Long Walk, and the creation of the AIM for freedom Survival School, among many other events and actions that had far-reaching effects nationally, many of which continue today.
For over fifty years the IFH continues to serve as the heart of the Bay Area Indian Community. It was established in 1955 to respond to the needs of American Indian people of many tribes who had migrated into the area through the Federal relocation program. For Urban Native Peoples IFH has served as the Urban Reservation and Homeland. In many cases it is one of the few places that keeps them connected to their culture and traditions through pow wow dance, drumming, beading classes, and the many social gatherings, cultural events, and ceremonies that are held there.
"The Intertribal Friendship House is more than an organization. It is the heart of a vibrant tribal community." said Wilma Mankiller, former Principal Chief, Cherokee Nation. "When we returned to our Oklahoma homelands twenty years later, we took incredible memories of the many people in the Bay Area who helped shape our values and beliefs."
Intertribal Friendship House (IFH) sprang up out of the need for relocated Indians to congregate together, to help each other survive and to forge what became the Urban Indian Community in the San Francisco Bay Area. IFH became the model that other Indian Centers with a specific focus grew out of and replicated.
Thursday March 15 7:00 PM-9:00 PM
Film Screening: Shell Mound, Spider Kid, and Exterminate Them! The California Story W/ Special Guests Floyd Red Crow Westerman and Lee Brightman of the American Indian Movement. Shell Mound Director Andres Cidiel and Spider Kid Director Cha-Tah Gould will also be present.
Intertribal Friendship House Oakland $8 - $10 Sliding scale All ages event! Friday March 16
7:00 PM-2:00 AM
"Save the Legacy" Benefit Show
All Nations Drummers, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Good Shield, Colored Ink, Ise Lyfe, Brown Buffalo Project, Entre Musicos, E-legal MC, Ariel Lucky, DJ Oye, DJ Agana, DJ Fuse and Sake-1.
Cafe' Axe' Cultural Center
1525 Webster St. Oakland $10-15 Sliding scale All ages event! No Drugs or Alcohol Allowed Saturday March 17
4:00 PM -10:00 PM
"Save the Legacy" Benefit Concert
Aztlan Underground, Blackfire, 7th Generation Rise, One Struggle, Chest full of Arrows and other very special guests!
Aztlan Underground is a fusion band from Los Angeles. Since the early 1990s, Aztlan Underground has played Rapcore . Indigenous drums, flutes, and rattles are commonplace in its musical compositions.
Blackfire a Native American (Dine') group comprised of two brothers and their sister. Their style is high-energy and comprises traditional Native American, Punk-Rock and Alter-Native with strong sociopolitical messages about government oppression, relocation of indigenous people, eco-cide, genocide, domestic violence and human rights. They strongly advocate for the Protection of Sacred sites and the respect of all cultures.
Good Shield is an indigenous artist of Oglala lakota and Yoeme heritage. He is lead singer and songwriter for Indigenous Soul band, 7th GENERATION RISE out of Humboldt County, CA. Good Shields music writing styles consists of Folk, Funk, Rock, etc set to culturally and politically charged lyrics.
One Struggle an eight piece band which infuses reggae, soul and South American rhythms with a blend of conscious vocals, spoken word, traditional Native songs and hip-hop sure to get your booty shaking.
Eastside Cultural Center 2277 International Blvd @ 23rd Avenue, Oakland $10-15 Sliding scale All ages event! No Drugs or Alcohol Allowed