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Indigenous Community Center to host music, poetry, art show Saturday in Lawrence

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Celebrate this Native American Heritage Month with the Indigenous Community Center (ICC)’s Music, Poetry and Art Bazaar, coming up this Saturday.

The event comes on the heels of the nonprofit’s last successful art show, which coincided with Indigenous People’s Day in October and gave local Native artists a chance to exhibit their work. Now, the ICC’s event organizers are expanding offerings to include live music and spoken word poetry performances.

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Moniqué Mercurio, of the Navajo and Esselen nations, is the ICC vice chair, committee head, and an artist. She says ICC events like this one give Native artists a critical “opportunity to be seen and validated,” especially after the annual Haskell Indian Art Market was canceled this September due to COVID-19.

Some of the artists and brands featured in Saturday’s show include Han’s Honey, a cosmetics, beadwork and apparel shop; Tokeya Waci U, a multimedia ledger artist; Merc Tribe Designs, a beadwork and jewelry shop; Dessa Starr, an illustrator; and Iris Cliff, an illustrator and printmaker.

The event will also feature Morning Light Kombucha and Crave Nutrition, two Native women-owned vendors that focus on healthy beverages.

Zach Arquette / Courtesy of the Indigenous Community Center Attendees browse artwork presented at the Indigenous Community Center’s Oct. 9, 2021 art show.

One of the poets taking the stage Saturday is Tai Amri Spann-Ryan, Lawrence’s 2016 Langston Hughes Poetry Award Recipient and co-founder of the collaborative group BLACK (Black Literature and Arts Collective of Kansas) Lawrence. His work touches on themes such as liberation, empathy, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the struggles that Indigenous communities have historically faced.

“Amri has some profound and deeply moving poetry,” Mercurio says. “We want to support our Indigenous communities and the things that he’s bringing to the table definitely need to be heard.”

The Music, Poetry and Art Bazaar will be held from noon to 5 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Sacred Ground Haskell campus ministry at Haskell Indian Nations University, 137 Pawnee Ave. Find more information on the event page on Facebook.

As the Indigenous Community Center grows, they are actively looking for volunteers. Contact the group via Facebook, Twitter, or at indigenouscommunitycenter@gmail.com to express interest in donating your time.

Taylor Mah / Courtesy of the Indigenous Community Center Attendees browse artwork presented at the Indigenous Community Center’s Oct. 9, 2021 art show.
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Jordan Winter (she/her), a contributor to The Lawrence Times, is a 2019 KU grad with degrees in journalism and political science.

Check out her work at jrdnwntr.com. Read more of her stories for the Times here.

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