'Celebrating People and Place' at the Latchis

BRATTLEBORO — Nationally-renowned singer/songwriter and Indigenous Rights Activist Lyla June, of Taos, N.M., will headline Brattleboro's new Fantastic Wantastiquet Festival in a gala keynote gathering at the Latchis Theatre at 2 p.m., on Saturday, Sept. 16.

"Lyla June's presence here heralds a call to people of all Nations, particularly First Nation / Indigenous peoples, to converge on the Wantastiquet region," said John Wilmerding, Festival organizer.

Wilmerding said, "The name of the festival in effect recovers and reclaims the original name of the West River — Wantastiquet — which translates as "river leading to the West."

The official themes announced for this first year of Fantastic Wantastiquet are "Celebrating People and Place," the local rivers (especially Wantastiquet and Connecticut), the fall foliage and the other natural beauty found in our area.

"Lyla June, however, carries her own themes with her, especially the central theme of her most popular song, 'All Nations Rise,'" said Wilmerding. June was responsible for helping indigenous and other peoples to rally last year near Standing Rock, N.D, to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, and also at a subsequent Unity Rally near the Black Hills of South Dakota. Other special guests will be present, many of them traveling from afar, as excitement in Brattleboro grows for its first Indigenous Peoples Day activities in early October.

The Latchis program will be "admission-by-donation" with a suggested amount of $10 but there is a no one turned away policy as well. Proceeds will go to benefit charities benefiting indigenous peoples, especially youth suicide prevention and women's issues.


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