The annual Mt. Bidwell California Indian Day Celebration honoring the Fort Bidwell Indian Boarding School Elders is held the first week-end of October in Fort Bidwell, California.
We celebrate the lives and honor the Fort Bidwell Indian Boarding School Elders with a Native American Indian parade all in regalia at 10 a.m. on main street. There will be $1000 for 1st Place, $800 for 2nd Place and $600 for 3rd Place for the Most Traditional parade awards. A dinner follows at the Fort Bidwell Indian gymnasium with traditional foods and Indian Tacos. There will arts and craft vendors and food vendors.
The American Indian Veterans Association (AIVA) will begin opening the ceremony by carrying the US flags along with the participating tribal flags. There will be stories told by the Fort Bidwell Indian Boarding School Elders about their memories and a picture display of the boarding school elders of many who have passed.
Storytellers, singers and dancers will be sharing their old stories, songs and dances.
Sunday, There will be a tribute in memory of local cradleboard maker, Lena Williams. Diana Almendariz will demonstrate basketweaving to those interested. There will be a Native American Fashion show.
This year's special guests are Marty Natividad and his group of Aztec Dancers and Drummers from Sacramento, CA. They will perform on Saturday and Sunday.
History of Area
In the late 1800s, the U.S. Government took young Native American children away from their homes and families. They brought them to Fort Bidwell, California, where they were forced to go to school. They were not to speak their native language and beaten if they did. They had to have their hair cut off and were not to wear their own traditional clothing. They lived in dorms, one for the girls and one for the boys. They had to line up and march to and from school, if they marched out of place, they were whipped. Children would go out in the back of the school and cry in the evenings. They were far away from home. Some children refused to lose their native language and would go behind the building or away from the buildings to continue speaking their native language. Many children ran away and if caught, were severely punished. Some even ran away during the cold wintery days. Some elders, today, still have bad memories and refuse to come to Fort Bidwell. The Fort Bidwell Indian Boarding School closed down in the early 1930s.
We ask everyone to come learn, heal and celebrate with us. This is a cultural, educational, historical, non-profit and a drug and alcohol free event.