You may have heard that long ago, Dolores Park used to be a cemetery, from around 1861 to 1888. You may not have heard that before that, nearly 6,000 Native American people were buried in the area in and around what we now call Dolores Park, amidst their “conversion” to Christianity by the Spaniards. Most died from diseases brought here from Europe; measles, syphilis, and tuberculosis.
sii agua sí is a Latinx & Indigenous Dance Festival that brings awareness and acknowledgement to pre-colonial waterways and Indigenous ancestral burial sites in the Mission District.— Kenneth Rainin Foundation (@KR_Foundation) September 23, 2022
The goal? Connecting the history of genocide and ecocide to today's current water crisis. pic.twitter.com/fGVujiqEvo
That legacy, along with a more joyful activation of Dolores Park into the recently established American Indian Cultural District, will be observed along with day’s worth of celebrations of Indigenous culture at Saturday’s event sii agua sí. The daylong event will go well into the evening, a presentation of Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers (FLACC), Dance Mission Theater, and the American Indian Cultural District.
Dolores Park was actually added to the American Indian Cultural District in December 2020). This event actually happened in 2021, though was much smaller because of COVID-19, and ended up getting moved indoors anyway because it rained that day.
Which makes Saturday’s celebration the first major celebration in Dolores Park as part of the cultural district. The Saturday daytime activities start at 3 p.m., and include artists like Hummaya Singers and Dancers, DJ Ras K’dee, and a Mayan Yucatan Dance Class. There are also children’s activities like chalk murals and a kids’ parade.
An outdoor nighttime program (6:30-9:30) will feature Piñata Dance Collective, Xochipilli Dance Company, and large-scale video projection by Ben Wood.
sii agua sí is Saturday, October 1, from 3 pm.- 9:30 p.m., Dolores Park. Free, but RSVP encouraged