El Centro de Muchos Colores

What is The Real History of Americas Event?


The Real History of the Americas event to celebrate Inaugural Indigenous Peoples’ Day at Fort Lewis College

Monday, Oct. 9, 2017


The Real History of the Americas takes a positive, but different look at the history of North and South America from the viewpoints of Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Native and LGBT peoples, among others. The 2017 theme is: “Honoring the Heartbeat of our Mother,” and will feature indigenous drumming, traditional foods, lectures, art, theatre and storytelling.  The Real History of the Americas celebration seeks to increase awareness and appreciation of the cultures and histories of sometimes marginalized peoples.

Planning Committee members needed: Looking for FLC community member interested in working with the Real History of the Americas committee!  A core group of 5-10 students, faculty and staff members plan the event with assistance from El Centro, Diversity Programming and the Native American Center.  If interested please send an email to Shirena Trujillo Long at long_s@fortlewis.edu.




The Real History of the Americas 2016

The 9th annual Real History of the Americas was held on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016.


Inaugural Indigenous Peoples Day event poster


DURANGO - A collaborative group of Fort Lewis College cultural centers, students and staff proudly presents the 9th annual “Real History of the Americas” program on Indigenous People’s Day 2016. This unique program runs all day beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, October 10, at FLC’s Student Union Ballroom.


This year’s theme is “Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ day” and features a culminating evening show by A Tribe Called Red at the Community Concert Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m.  Also this year, the College will celebrate a new mural installation on the Mears Apartment Complex to commemorate the inaugural Indigenous Peoples’ Day at FLC and in the City of Durango. The public is welcome to participate throughout the day for free, with concert tickets available for evening performance at www.durangoconcerts.com.


The Real History of the Americas takes a positive, but different look at the history of North and South America from the viewpoints of Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Native and LGBT peoples, among others. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day” prompted the formal resolutions passed by FLC and the City of Durango to recognize Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in perpetuity. Now in its 9th year, the Real History of the Americas celebration seeks to increase awareness and appreciation of the cultures and histories of sometimes marginalized peoples.

The 2016 confirmed guests include Representative Joe Salazar, Dr. Iris PrettyPaint, Artist Chip Thomas, and the world renowned Canadian band A Tribe Called Red, Evangaline Parsons-Yazzie, and graphic artist Jared YazzieIn addition to our guests, this all-day long event offers workshops, inspirational identity activities with Common Ground, live dance performances by Ballet Folklorico de Durango, presentations by Miss Hozhoni Royalty, and much more.

For a full schedule, please visit the Real History of the Americas tab at: www.fortlewis.edu/realhistories, or call El Centro de Muchos Colores Hispanic Resource Center at (970) 247-7654.

mural dedication poster

A Tribe Called Red poster

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Real History of the Americas?

The Real History of the Americas takes a positive, but different look at the history of North and South America from the viewpoints of Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and Native peoples the LGBT community, among others. Real History of the Americas was created in 2008 by Native American, Hispanic and Multicultural students on campus to empower and share a variety of Real Histories of the Americas on the day that is also known as Columbus Day or the Day of the Race in the United States.  For more information about why we celebrate this Real History of the Americas, please see this interview on Democracy Now! When Amy Goodman interview some of our key founders of the event: http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2012/10/8.

Who are the special guests for 2016?

Dr. Iris PrettyPaint: With over 30 years of experience as an educator and researcher, Dr. PrettyPaint is the leading authority on cultural resilience, student retention, and indigenous evaluation with American Indian and Alaska Native Communities. PrettyPaint says: “I am interested in the kind of research that empowers students, improves programs and honors the intellectual wisdom of our elders.” She will provide the keynote address on Indigenous Peoples’ Day as well as lead an afternoon workshop.



A Tribe Called Red: This Canadian electronic music group blends instrumental hip hop, reggae, moombahton and dubstep-influenced dance music with elements of First Nations music, particularly vocal chanting and drumming. The group's music has been described as "powwow-step", a style of contemporary powwow music for urban First Nations in the dance club scene. Links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-mkhCeGH_M and http://atribecalledred.com/bio/


Representative Joe Salazar: (D-Thornton) is a Colorado native whose Spanish and indigenous roots in Colorado go back hundreds of years. He was the criminal investigator for the State of Colorado before attending law school where he was awarded the “Subject Matter Expert” certification in the area of civil rights. In April, 2016, he unsuccessfully introduced legislation (HB-1135) that would have repealed Columbus Day as a state-recognized holiday in Colorado. In interviews with the media, he cited FLC’s name change and student leader Ruthie Edd as part of his inspiration for advocating for change. http://cohousedems.com/joe-salazar


Chip Thomas: For the past 26 years, physician Chip Thomas has treated patients at a low-cost clinic on the Navajo Nation – but his greatest contribution may be his artwork. Thomas' building-size black-and-white portraits of the people (Dine) adorn water tanks, abandoned barns, and any other surface he can find throughout the 27,400-mile Navajo Nation. Thomas will be installing one of his murals on campus to commemorate FLC’s first Indigenous Peoples’ Day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=686ijgStAFs


Evangeline Parsons Yazzie, EDD: Professor Emeritus of Navajo at Northern Arizona University. Dr. Parsons Yazzie obtained an MA in Bilingual Multicultural Education and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from NAU, and is an author, storyteller and activist to perserve her culture. Evangeline is a Navajo woman, originally from the community of Hardrock on the Navajo Reservation. As a means of acknowledging and honoring her deceased parents for their gift of language, culture-knowledge, and Navajo teachings, Evangeline teaches and writes on the behalf of elders, and encourages others to honor their elders.

Jared Yazzie: Based out of Chandler, AZ, this (Diné – Navajo) artist has been producing artwork since 2009 to increase awareness of Native issues and to show the beauty of Native culture. His business "OXDX" is an abbreviation of the word "Overdose" – a word Yazzie uses to describe the state of modern society. Sometimes we need to pull back and remember our culture, tradition, and those who have sacrificed for us. Yazzie will be selling his custom designed T-shirts and other apparel from 10-4 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom and providing a workshop about artwork as activism at 1:45 p.m. in the Dolores Room of the Student Union.

Who organizes Real History of the Americas?

FLC student leaders Ruthie Edd and Monica Maes have co-coordinated the upcoming 9th annual RHOA with the help of dozens of student clubs, volunteers and FLC staff members. RHOA committee members for 2016-17 include: Courtney Collins, Deionna Vigil, Stacy John, Bryan Dalla-Cundiff; with staff members Charles Leslie, Shirena Trujillo Long, Nancy Stoffer, and Joey Dell; and faculty member Dr. Kay Holmes.  College sponsors include: Club del Centro & El Centro, Common Ground Diversity Programming, Student Union Productions (SUP), Native American Center, the Community Concert Hall, Office of the President, Division of Student Affairs, Residential Hall Association, and others.

What is Indigenous People’s Day? Across the country, cities and universities are declaring Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The City of Durango passed the resolution on Jan. 5, 2016, and the full resolution can be seen at: http://www.durangogov.org/documentcenter/view/6088/. At FLC, the Associated Students of FLC (ASFLC) and the Board of Trustees formally approved their resolutions in the academic year 2015-16

When is the Real History of the Americas?

Fall 2016 - Monday, Oct. 10th 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at FLC Student Union Ballroom; 7:30 p.m. concert at Community Concert Hall.


10:00 am           Welcome & opening statements: “Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day”

10:10 am           Opening Prayer by Kevin Belin

10:20 am           FLC Senior Olivia Duncan performs "National Anthem" in English & Diné

 10:30 am           Storytelling: “Our Real Histories” by Teahonna James & Shirena Trujillo Long

10:40 am           City of Durango recognition by Councilman Dick White and Bill Bolden

10:45 am           BALA SINEM performs “Indigenous Peoples Day Song” created by FLC   

     alumna Mariana Harvey

10:50 am            Indigenous Peoples Day Proclamation Reading by Ruthie Edd

11:10-11:20 am   Statewide Indigenous Peoples Day efforts & Call to Action by Rep. Joe Salazar

11:30 am              Multicultural Potluck: “Food- the International Language”

Noon-1:00 pm      Keynote address by guest Dr. Iris PrettyPaint

  Finding Hope from the Inside Out: Cultural Resilience and Historical Trauma

In higher education, Indigenous students have a dual mission: to preserve, protect, and promote our unique traditional ways of life; and to learn Western models of research, history, policy, and practice. All of this accomplished in the midst of insurmountable economic, social, and academic challenges. Our hope is that this journey will be filled with feelings of confidence, exhilaration, and excitement. Although, we understand the challenge that some students will experience the confluence of culture and education with feelings of fear, vulnerability, and disconnection. This keynote will speak to the profound ancient concept of persistence and the centuries-long spiritual experience for Indigenous peoples of America.

1:00-1:20 pm                  Apache Crown Dancers from Theodore Roosevelt School Ft. Apache school, Outdoor Union Plaza

1:20-1:30 pm                  Protectors of the Land & Waters discourse on DAPL by Maya St. Cyr

1:45-4:00 pm                  ALTERNATIVE VOICES WORKSHOPS: Artists & Academics & Activists, participants may choose two workshops below

1:45-2:45 pm                     Artists & Activists:

Chip Thomas in Ballroom: “Making a Noise in this World- Storytelling in the 21st Century”

This workshop will look at public art and the role it can play in challenging biases + narratives of the dominant culture while reflecting the beauty and wisdom of subcultures.  Public art as an opportunity for examining the intersectionality of race, class and our own personal narratives will also be explored.

Jared Yazzie in Dolores Room: “Creating Stories Through Native Fashion and Design”

Rep. Joe Salazar in Vallecito Room: “Eliminating Columbus Day: The Beginning of the End for the State holiday”

This seminar will focus on the groundwork of state legislators and community members to finally introduce the repeal of Columbus Day in the Colorado General Assembly. The seminar will talk about next steps and a call to action for all communities.

3:00-4:00 pm                     Academics:

Dr. Iris PrettyPaint in Vallecito Room: “Exploring Our Indigenous Worldview”

This workshop will provide a deeper discussion of the Indigenous worldview, values, knowledge, and histories for students. Participants will explore the different cultural ways to assess merit and worth in higher education and explore student aspirations of well-being, by focusing on their strengths, attributes, and positive visions.

Dr. Evangeline Parsons-Yazzie in Ballroom: “Stories from the Long Walk”

4:30 pm                 Mural Dedication ceremony begins

(located on North Side of Mears Apartment Complex);  

REAL FOODS meal, Live Musical Performances by Ignacio High School drum group “Shadow Sprirtis”, FLC student Alex Blocker, Ballet Folkorico de Durango and more!

4:40 pm                 FLC President Dr. Dene Kay Thomas address

4:45 pm                Artist STatement by Chip Thomas & oration by Poet Frank Dineyazhe III

4:55 pm                FLC Music Major Alex Blocker Performance

5:00 pm                Ballet Folklorico de Durango Performance

5:20 pm               Mural Dedication ceremony closing remarks

5:30-7:30 pm       Dinner break (on your own)

7:30 pm               “A Tribe Called Red” Live Performance at Community Concert Hall, www.durangoconcerts.com




The Real History of the Americas '13

A Special Thanks To...

Coordinators of 2017 Real History

Staff Members Nancy Stoffer, Shirena Long, and Joey Dell, Grace Chang,
Faculty Member Kay Holmes, Carolina Alonso

Colllege Sponsors

Club del Centro & El Centro, Common Ground Diversity Programming, Student Union Productions (SUP), Native American Center, Community Concert Hall, Modern Language Department, Office of the President,
RHOA Co-Coordinator

Stacy John

RHOA Co-Coordinator Ken

RHOA Committee members

Stacy John, Bryan Dalla-Cundiff, Deionna Vigil, Rhianon, Veronica Krupnick, Miranda,