SALT RIVER BAY – Each year the National Park Service (NPS) commemorates the ‘Cape of the Arrows’ encounter, when Amerindian Virgin Islanders defended their sacred indigenous lands, culture and people resulting in the loss of life of two members of Christopher Columbus’ expeditionary force of November 14th, 1493. The community is invited to a public lecture, interactive cultural education exhibition and the reopening of the Salt River Bay Visitor Contact Station above Columbus Landing on Saturday, November 14th, 2015 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.

NPS-St. Croix in collaboration with the Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI-VICCC), the Friends of the National Park and a growing circle of community supporters are coordinating this event. This year’s event will include an interactive art and history exhibition with workshops by the Roots Alive Cultural Arts Program. Cultural education exhibitions and digital presentations will be offered to visitors in observance of the annual reopening of the Visitors Center, the Cape of Arrows Encounter of 1493, annual November designations of National Native American Heritage and VI Indigenous Native Amerindian Heritage Month, and the soft launch of the NPS-STX and UVI-VICCC collaborative project Heritage Education and Art Legacy (HEAL365). We expect 100-plus community members to attend this event. NPS representatives and volunteers will be on-site to teach about Salt River’s ecology and history, all on the 522nd anniversary of the first recorded European encounter in the St. Croix, Virgin Islands known by indigenous people as “Ay Ay”.

At 5:30 PM the doors will open at the Salt River Bay Visitor Contact Station above Columbus Landing. Visitors are invited to see and create art with the Living Cultural Heritage Arts Make & Take Station of Ay Ay. An exhibit that demonstrates the development of Amerindian villages across the Caribbean developed by Dr. Joshua Torres, former Cultural Resource Program Manager for NPS-St. Croix and other Indigenous heritage arts and history will be on display. At6:00 PM, the NPS-STX Salt River Bay Visitors Center will host a cultural opening and then an
interactive panel on Indigenous Native Amerindian people, arts, education, culture, heritage and identity. Invited panelists and discussants include: Br. Gerville Larsen, Vice Chair of the VI Centennial Commission; Dr. Chenzira Davis Kahina, Director of UVI-VI Caribbean Cultural Center (UVI-VICCC); Br. Olasee Davis, Senior Research Specialist of UVI-Cooperative Extension Service (UVI-CES); Sr. Maria Stiles & Senora Rosaura Perez Rivera of Roots Alive Cultural Arts. The panel presentation will include a site tour followed by traditional cultural arts
performance. Light refreshments will be served. The evening’s events will end at 8:30 PM. All are welcome.