The Indigenous People’s Day PHX Festival, hosted by Cahokia PHX, recently took place in Phoenix and featured a free skateboarding competition, art exhibits, live music, and local food markets, among other activities. The event was organized with the intention to honor the history and contributions of indigenous peoples and provide a platform for their representation, according to co-founder Candace Hamana. Seven Layer Army, an indigenous skateboarding company, hosted the Downtown Showdown contest at the festival, aimed to encourage and support indigenous youth and promote inclusivity and diversity.
Second Annual Cahokia PHX Event Celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Phoenix
The second annual Cahokia PHX event, a tribute to the history and culture of Indigenous peoples, kicked off its festivities with a free skateboarding competition at Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix. This free event, under the theme “Indigenize the Valley”, featured live music, native foods, markets, art exhibits, Indigenous film screenings, and a wealth of family-friendly activities.
Indigenous-led and woman-owned organization Cahokia PHX, which was formed in 2021, hosted this festival. The organization is committed to amplifying and empowering Arizona’s tribal populations. “This Phoenix festival honors the history and contributions of Indigenous peoples,” said co-founder Candace Hamana, highlighting the event’s function as a platform for Indigenous artists and entrepreneurs.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego also attended the festival. On April 19, Phoenix City Council officially declared Indigenous People’s Day a paid city holiday.
Seven Layer Army Partners with Cahokia PHX for Skateboarding Competition
The Indigenous skateboarding company Seven Layer Army partnered with Cahokia PHX to host the Downtown Showdown contest. Skaters of all ages from around Arizona participated in the event. Reuben Ringlero and Paul Molina, members of the Gila River Indian Community, assisted in organizing the competition.
Seven Layer Army organizes tribal-focused skateboarding events throughout the year to support Indigenous youth. “Skateboarding serves as a positive, healthy lifestyle outlet for our youth,” said Ringlero.
Downtown Showdown Event Highlights
The contest, which featured nearly 30 participants, was divided into three age divisions. Prizes for the participants were donated by Seven Layer Army’s sponsors and other Indigenous skateboarding companies in the valley. “Our collaborators are all community-based volunteers,” said Molina.
Bryson Harris, a 14-year-old member of the Apache tribe and participant, shared his experience: “[Skateboarding] boosts my confidence. It teaches patience and commitment.”
Madi Weiner, a 20-year-old participant, highlighted the sense of community and belonging that the event fosters. “Skateboarding is something we all share. It’s a great way to meet new people and discover more about Indigenous cultures in Arizona,” said Weiner.
Davion Kinsel, a Navajo member, applauded Seven Layer Army’s support for Arizona’s Indigenous communities. “Skateboarding competitions promote inclusivity and diversity. They provide opportunities for the tribes to come together. We’re all a community,” Kinsel added.
The 2023 Indigenous Peoples’ Day festival marked the second year Seven Layer Army hosted its Downtown Showdown skateboarding competition in Phoenix. The company plans to attend next year’s event as well.