First Indigenous Peoples March takes place in Washington DC
At 8 a.m. on a cold Friday morning, participants in the Indigenous Peoples March gathered on the steps of the U.S. Department of the Interior and began prayers and songs o open the event. The smell of sage circulated in the air as Indigenous leaders and participants fanned the smoke throughout the crowd.
“Sage is a plant medicine and used for cleansing,” said Wayne Snow from Saskatchewan, Canada. “We cleanse our eyes to see clearly, our mouths to speak the truth, and our hearts to spread love.”
Cliff Matias from New York City is part of the Kichwa/Taino tribe and a main organizer of the event. He directed the crowd at the first-ever Indigenous Peoples Movement in Washington D.C. through a red bullhorn, the same one he used during the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
Matias is also a member of the Redrum Motorcycle Club, an Indigenous-based club that works to support Indigenous people around the world.