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“Sii Agua Sí” Free Indigenous Dance Festival & Block Party (SF)

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Saturday, October 1, 2022 - 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm | Cost: FREE
18th Street between Dolores and Church Streets | 18th Street between Dolores and Church Streets, San Francisco, California, 94114, United States

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Free, outdoor dance festival along 18th Street in San Francisco on October 1st honoring the 5700 Indigenous ancestors buried in and around Mission Dolores, as well the waterways that used to run along 18th Street, making the connection between ecocide, genocide, and today’s water crisis.

FLACC (Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers) and Dance Mission Theater have come together for a day-long street closure on the 18th Street/Mission Creek Corridor (between Church and Dolores Streets) via art and cultural events. In partnership with Bay Area Indigenous leaders, local artists, Mission High School, and the American Indian Cultural Center, this ritual performance intervention will bring awareness to the blocked and soil-filled waterways in Yelamu (what is now known as San Francisco) and will memorialize the 5,700 Indigenous ancestors buried in the Mission Dolores cemetery during early colonization, drawing links between genocide, ecocide, and today’s current water crisis.

What: Dance Mission Theater, Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers (FLACC), and the American Indian Cultural District present sii agua

Latinx and Indigenous Dance Festival Brings an Embodied Land Acknowledgement to Pre-Colonial Waterways and Hidden Indigenous  Ancestral Burial Sites in the Mission District.

When: Saturday, Oct 1, 2022: 3-9pm

Where: 18th Street between Dolores and Church Streets, SF

Price: Free!

sii agua sí means “water water yes”, “sii” being the Ohlone Ramaytush word for “water.” With a temporary sidewalk art by Adrian Arias and Pancho Pescador to guide the audience and dancers in the daytime and installing Ben Wood’s large scale video projections of water to light up the site at night, the October 1st festival will take place within a watery landscape. Water blessings, land acknowledgements, traditional and contemporary dances, ofrendas (ancestor altars) and a creek water sound installation by DJ Ras K’Dee of Audiopharmacy will decolonize the area replacing the usual presence of buses and cars from 12pm-9pm.

Last October, sii agua si conjured a historic atmospheric river which brought the festival to a halt. Lead curators, artists and organizers worked to make yet another pivot and in under 3 days, while under strict COVID19 regulations, brought the festival indoors and into Dance Mission Theater. This year, FLACC chooses to honor what was the original outdoor event concept and has garnered collaborators old and new to stage the 2nd rendition of “sii agua si”. Returning to the festival are: Gregg Castro (Ohlone Ramaytush) who is leading a prayer walk from Mission Dolores at 2pm, the Hummaya Singers and Dancers from the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe visiting from Pomona, CA, accompanied by their 83 year-old Chief Tony Cerda whose ancestors are buried in the cemetery at Mission Dolores just a couple of blocks away from the festival site. Also returning to the festival that she helped curate in its early stages last year, is Kanyon Sayers-Roods/”Coyote Woman” (Ohlone Mutsun and Chumash) who will offer a culture-share as part of the evening program. In attendance will be: The Red Lighting Woman Power Singers, Inter Tribal Friendship House Youth Ensemble, students from Mission High School and Asociación Mayab-Maya Yucateco Dance Class and Demonstration!

In addition to traditional dance and Indigenous representation, the day will include performance rituals and contemporary dances by FLACC choreographers: Liz Boubion(US/MX)- who also serves as the lead curator of “sii agua si” and FLACC’s founding director, Jesús Cortes(MX/US) the director of Cuicali, Hector Jaime Rodriguez (MX/US), Carmen Roman(Peru/US), Violeta Luna (MX/US), presenting work encompassing themes of water protection, queer latinidad, and immigration. The FLACC Community Dancers will be activating the site at Dolores Park on Saturdays from 1-3pm the month leading up to the festival.

Throughout the day, Nizhone Ellenwood (Nii Mii Puu/Nez Perce and Apache) will offer a participatory tobacco prayer-ties culture-share near the water altar space. The American Indian Cultural Center will be hosting a children’s tent for kids of all ages to create salmon puppets from 4-6pm and join in a celebratory children’s salmon run parade down 18th Street where the Mission Creek, also known as Arroyo Dolores, once existed. And lastly, local indigenous vendors and community organizations will be sharing their important work.

Disclaimer: Please double check event information with the event organizer as events can be canceled, details can change after they are added to our calendar, and errors do occur.

Cost: FREE
Categories: *Top Pick*, Art & Museums, Fairs & Festivals, In Person, Outdoors
Venue: 18th Street between Dolores and Church Streets
Address: 18th Street between Dolores and Church Streets, San Francisco, California, 94114, United States