Group To Hold Event Celebrating All-American Indian Days In Sheridan
A two-day event in Sheridan will honor a past celebration that worked to bridge gaps between Native and non-Native communities.
Starting in 1953, locals got together in Sheridan to create All-American Indians Days as an effort to end racial discrimination against Native Americans. It was at a time when Sheridan was widely recognized as an "anti-Indian town."
Town leaders created a three-day celebration that highlighted tribes from across the U.S. and Canada. It included the Miss Indian America pageant.
While the event ended in 1984, several former Miss Indian Americas created a committee to commemorate its significance.
"I personally wanted to say thank you to the vision that they had," said Sarah Luther, who was crowned Miss Indian America in 1967 and is the chair of the committee. "To this day, what they did, all those years, none of that has been duplicated anywhere in the country, I don't think anywhere in the world, because it was just ordinary people who came together in the water to do something about racism."
Luther said the celebration brought together tribes from across the U.S and Canada, with more than 4,000 attendees. She said they set up camp at the rodeo grounds.
"It was like a cultural mix, because not every Native tribe has the same language, and they don't dress the same. We're all different. We're very diverse. And so we brought our culture together, and we share that with one another," she said.
Luther said the committee is also hoping to raise money for a commemorative sculpture to gift the city so that All-American Indian Days can be remembered for years to come.
The All-American Indian Days Remembrance Event will take place on July 14 at the Brinton Museum and July 15 at the WYO Theater in Sheridan. The event is open to the public, and speakers will share history and stories of the original event.