Salt of the Earth: Sunset Park celebrates native cultures on Earth Day

Proud parade: Native American performers treated locals to a tribal dance for the Earth Day celebration at the Sunset Park Recreation Center on April 20.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Hundreds of Earth Day revelers gathered at Sunset Park to celebrate Native American culture on Saturday as tribes representing cultures from across the new world demonstrated the songs and dances of their people.

“It went very well,” said Kamu Morales, First Grandfather of the Taino Council Guatu-Ma-cu A Boriken, a tribe hailing from modern Puerto Rico.

The annual celebration of indigenous cultures is organized by the Redhawk Native American Arts Council, a non-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on Native American heritage which represents tribes from North, South, and Central America, along with Polynesian and Caribbean cultures.

Morales demonstrated various dances and musical instruments traditional to Taino culture, including the wamo, a conch shell used as a horn and the mayohuacan, a hollowed out log used as a procession instrument.

The performers were joined by vendor selling hand-made goods, including Jassier Cabrera, who sold handsome jackets that his grandfather, an expert weaver, can produce in less than a day’s work, he said.

“They’re pretty fast,” said Cabrera.

This was the second year running that rain has forced the celebration of native culture inside Sunset Park’s recreation center, but that didn’t stop about 1,000 people from turning out to catch the show, according to Morales.

“We had a good crowd,” he said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Honored songs: Tribal preformers sang native songs to a huge crowd.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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