North American First People's Day 2022

Background on Our Walks

  • Akron City Council in 2018 declared the first Monday in October as “North American First People’s Day,” a day to honor Indian history, life and culture. It was extended to the entire county in April 2019 by Summit County Council. The initiative was prompted by students at The Lippman School of Akron, which has a longstanding exchange relationship with the Northern Cheyenne Nation of Montana.

  • Students from Lippman, Portage Path CLC and the Cheyenne Nation joined together in 2016 to create a web-based mobile app that provides extensive information about the Indian trail, including its history and the natural world that it traverses. The app can be accessed at

  • The Portage Path Collaborative includes The Summit County Historical Society, The Lippman School, Summit Metro Parks, Akron Public Schools, the Akron-Summit County Public Library, and The University of Akron Institute for Human Science and Culture/ Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. Two individuals, La Donna Blue Eye, a member of the Choctaw Nation and Akron artist Chuck Ayers are also members of the group.

  • A brochure outlining the historic trail and the history of Native peoples who used the Portage Path has been published and is free and available at the Historical Society and at Metro Parks’ F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm.

  • The sculpture of a Native American portaging a canoe was designed and sculpted by Peter Jones who resides and works on the Alleghany Indian Reservation near Salamanca, New York. He graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe in 1965 and has been honored with national awards recognizing his lifetime commitment to perpetuating Haudenosaunee traditions and to restore and pass on ancestral knowledge and traditions, connecting Native peoples to their greatest assets.

  • The mission of the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio is supported by the operation of the Food Truck and strengthens NAICCO’s community-driven initiatives – social development, economic development, and cultural restoration/preservation.

Schedule of Events

Friday, September 30

11am-4pm: Exhibitions. Pencil drawings by Delaware/Six Nations artist Valerie J. Evans, Metzger Galleries. Oelschlager Oak Native American Ethnographic Collection, Oak Native American Gallery. Institute for Human Science and Culture at The University of Akron, 73 S. College St. Free. 


12-1pm + 3-4pm: Curator-led Tours.  Behind-the-scenes tour of the Oelschlager Oak Native American Ethnographic Collection. Institute for Human Science and Culture. Free, but limited spaces available. RSVP:

4-7pm: Delaware Girl Exhibition Opening Reception. Metzger Galleries, Institute for Human Science and Culture. Free.


Saturday, October 1

11am-4pm: Exhibitions. Pencil drawings by Delaware/Six Nations artist Valerie J. Evans, Metzger Galleries. Oelschlager Oak Native American Ethnographic Collection, Oak Native American Gallery.  Institute for Human Science and Culture at The University of Akron, 73 S. College St. Free.


October 1 – 2
Native American Pow Wow, Atwood Lake, Ohio
Sunday, October 2
11:30 am – Walk the Towpath trail,  Summit Metro Parks will present a walk guided by a Summit Metro Parks archaeologist. Participants will learn about the history of this vital link between North American waterways and enjoy a talk at the northern terminus by artist Peter Jones (Onondaga/Seneca). Jones created the statues of the portaging American Indian which can be seen at both the northern and southern termini of the Portage Path. The walk will begin at 11:30 at the Big Bend parking area in Sand Run Metro Park, 1337 Merriman Rd.
12:00pm – 4:00pm  NAICCO Cuisine – John Brown House, 526 Diagonal Road.  A food trailer operated by the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio will be open to the public. “NAICCO Cuisine” is a Native American owned-and-operated food trailer that offers a one-of-a-kind menu consisting of exquisite Native American street food including fry bread, NDN tacos, buffalo burgers, and more. It is the first food trailer of its kind in the Midwest.
12:00pm – Art talk at American Indian statue, Peter Jones (Onondaga/Seneca). Location: terminus at North Portage Path & Merriman Rd. Free
The artist Peter Jones will be available at noon at the statue located at Portage Path and Merriman Road. Parking is available in nearby commercial lots. Currently, Jones is designing another large, bronze-cast sculpture for the City of Cuyahoga Falls, which received an “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.The sculpture will be installed on Levinson Lane, between Front Street and Second Street later this year.
1:30 pm – 1 kilometer walk  The sixth annual Portage Path Walk will take place on Sunday, October 2. A one-kilometer walk will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Portage Path CLC, 55 S. Portage Path and will be led by members of the Northern Cheyenne nation who will be drumming and dressed in regalia. The walk, open to the public, will end at the John Brown House, 514 Diagonal Road. There will be a program at 2:00 pm that will include drumming and singing. The Society’s historic museum will be available for walk-through tours

The City of Akron will provide free shuttle transportation from the John Brown House to Highland Square for those walking the trail following the walk and the program.

2:00 pm – Native American Cultural Presentation. John Brown House, 526 Diagonal Road. Free. Drumming and dancing by Northern Cheyenne. NAICCO food trailer.
Monday, October 3, North American First People’s Day
Various times – In-school activities in Akron and Summit County. A “teach-in,” with appearances by Indian nationrepresentatives. Teachers are creating aligned lesson activities. The artist Peter Jones (Onondaga/Seneca) will join with Lenore Waukau (Menominee) at Hyre Community Learning Center MIddle School, 9am – 12pm to conduct workshops on Indian culture and the making of traditional clay pottery.
6:30 – 8:00 pmAkron-Summit County Public Library Speaker Series, Main Library Auditorium – Sarah Eagle Heart, Oglala Lakota. Emmy award-winning storyteller. Co-CEO, Return to the Heart Foundation advocating for Indigenous women.
Wednesday, October 5
6 – 7 pm: History of Two Spirit and LGBTQ Identity in Native American Community Lecture – Dr. LaDonna Blue Eye (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma). Institute for Human Science and Culture at The University of Akron, 73 S. College St. Free. RSVP:
Friday, October 7
5:00 pm– Exhibit Opening, “Portage Path Community Archaeology Project.” Stewards of Historic Preservation. Lecture, Dr. Kevin Kern, “White Visions of ‘Red men’: Indians in Northeast Ohio Memory.” Summit Art Space. 140 E. Market Street. Exhibition through December 17.Free.  Press Release
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