North American First People's Day 2023
The Walk - October 1

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.

Tentative Schedule of Events

Please check back for updates


3:00pm – 4:00pm: Oak Native American Ethnographic Collection Tour. Free.
Led by Institute for Human Science and Culture curator; learn about the Oak Native American Ethnographic Collection while visiting the Oak gallery and sneak a peek of collection items not on display. At the Institute for Human Science & Culture at The University of Akron (Inside Cummings Center: 73 S. College St., Akron, Ohio, 44325). Free but limited spaces; RSVP information will be available at

4:00pm – 7:00pm: Exhibitions. Free.
O-bit-u-ary exhibition opening reception for featured contemporary Native American artist, Peter B. Jones (Onondaga Nation)—a renowned potter and sculptor who resides on the Allegany Territory of the Seneca Nation of Indians.  This exhibition of new works “is something I have wanted to do for years. Missing and murdered native women deals with something that is currently affecting our women in the United States and Canada. To date 5800 native women have been found murdered or missing from our communities. Nobody has been found to be responsible for this. I wanted to show the horrific aspects of this occurrence and to bring it to the forefront of the public’s awareness.” The exhibition runs through July 2024.

Oak Native American Gallery.  Exhibition of Native American ethnographic materials exploring the connection between people and land.

Both located at the Institute for Human Science & Culture at The University of Akron (Inside Cummings Center: 73 S. College St., Akron, Ohio, 44325). Standard gallery hours: Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat [11:00am – 4:00pm] + Wed [1:00pm – 8:00pm]. Closed Mon + Sun + holidays. For more information visit

7:00pm – 9:00pm: “Clans”- Chickasaw Legends.
Chickasaw Nation classical composer Jarod Impichch aachaaha’ Tate conducts his work, Clans, telling legends drawn from his Chickasaw heritage; narrated by Dr. LaDonna Blue Eye (Choctaw Nation). E.J.Thomas Concert Hall (198 Hill Street Akron, Ohio 44325). Ticket information available soon at

11:00am – 4:00pm: Exhibitions. Free.
O-bit-u-ary by Peter B. Jones, ceramic artist (Onondaga) and Oak Native American Gallery. See above for more information.


10:00am–12:00pm: History of the Portage Path and Artist’s Talk. Free.
Summit Metro Parks archaeologist-led walk from Big Bend to the northernmost point of the Portage Path.  Learn about the history of this vital link between North American waterways as we walk, then enjoy a talk at the northern terminus by artist Peter B. Jones (Onondaga), creator of the portaging American Indian statues located at both the northern and southern termini of the Portage Path. Begins at the Big Bend parking area (Sand Run Metro Park, 1337 Merriman Rd., Akron).

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.

1:30pm: Walk the Portage Path. Free.
1-Kilometer walk of the Portage Path led by the Northern Cheyenne, who will be drumming and dressed in regalia. The path was marked by the Summit County Historical Society in 1999, when for the first time, monumental sculptures at each terminus were connected by fifty markers in the shape of Indian broad blades over the 8-mile trail. It starts at Portage Path CLC (55 S. Portage Path) and ends at Summit Co. Historical Society’s John Brown House (514 Diagonal Road, Akron).

2:00pm: Native American Cultural Presentation. Free
Drumming and dancing by Northern Cheyenne at Summit Co. Historical Society’s John Brown House lawn (514 Diagonal Road, Akron).


(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.)


8:30am – 3:00pm: Teach-In. By invitation only.
Educational activities for local school children with appearances by Indian nation representatives; in coordination with Akron Public School teachers. Institute for Human Science & Culture at The University of Akron.

6:30pm – 8:00pm: Akron-Summit County Public Library Native American Speaker Series. Free.
Speaker(s) to be confirmed. Downtown branch (60 S. High St., Akron). More information is coming soon at


3:30pm – 5:00pm: Public Humanities Workshop for UA students. Limited space.
Professor of American History and Documentary Filmmaker Malinda Maynor Lowery, Ph.D. For more information contact Dr. Jodi Kearns

6:00PM – 7:30pm: IHSC Fall Lecture Beyond Myths and Truths: Finding Native American Women in History. Free.
Lecture and film screening by Malinda Maynor Lowery, Ph.D. (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina), a historian, documentary film producer, and Cahoon Family Professor of American History at Emory University. Institute for Human Science & Culture at The University of Akron (Inside Cummings Center: 73 S. College St., Akron, Ohio 44325). Find RSVP info at

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