Native American Heritage Month

About Native American Heritage Month

Although the first "American Indian Day" was celebrated in May 1916 in New York, a month-long recognition of Native Americans did not happen until 1990. That year, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Since then, the title has expanded to celebrate the heritage, history, art, and traditions of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Each year, we honor the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors had lived in North America for hundreds of years. MESA and the Native American Student Association (NASA) collaborate with campus partners to bring a wide range of events that celebrate Native American culture with the University of Michigan campus community.


She's Gone Missing: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women with Heather Bruegl 
Tuesday, November 1st | 6:00–7:30 p.m.
Dana Building Auditorium, 440 Church St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

There is an epidemic that no one is talking about outside of Indian Country. When an Indigenous woman goes missing, you don’t hear about it. Why? Within our community we are dealing with an epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. With numbers so high that they are unreported, how do we deal with it all? Why aren’t there concrete statistics? Why do the crimes go unreported? What has the FBI done to help with this epidemic? Let’s talk some history and try to find out why this is an issue, let’s learn about ‘Missing White Woman Syndrome’ and how that plays a role in the media. Learn what you can do in and out of Indian Country to make sure that our sisters, mothers, daughters, wives, girlfriends, women, don’t become a statistic.

Native American & Indigenous Studies: Contemporary Conversations 
Thursday, November 3rd | 12:00-1:00 p.m. 
3512 Haven Hall 

The Native American Studies Program is pleased to showcase the work of its affiliated faculty in an ongoing series of conversations. Join us for lightening talks on the range of research pursued by faculty!
Featuring the work of: Dimitri Brown, History and Society of Fellows Sherina Feliciano-Santos, Dept. of Anthropology Susan Najita, English and American Culture

Lunch will be provided.
Please RSVP to by Nov. 1. 

Native American Heritage Month x IGR - Crafting and (self-)Care in Community
Friday, November 4th | 5:30-8:00 p.m. 
Michigan Union Pendleton Room 
Join the Native American Student Association and IGR for a fun night of Crafting and (self-)Care in Community! We will have food, music, beading, large yard games like jenga and connect four, coloring our 50th anniversary NASA tote bags and ojibwe floral design coloring pages, friendship style bracelet making, and more! 

Gete Zhigiizhwewinan Dekoobiigaadegin: Short Old Sayings
Nishnaabemwin Language Lesson with Alphonse Pitiwanakwaat

Saturday, November 5th | 1:00-3:00 p.m. 
Trotter Multicultural Center, Multipurpose Room 

Translating and writing aphorisms, maxims, and proverbs to encourage writing of Nishnaabemwin on social media. Translating these sayings is a good way to practice writing and communicating in the language.
Join Alphonse for an afternoon of Nishinaabemowin. Alphonse Pitawanakwat is a certified Language Instructor through Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. His first language is Anishinaabemowin. Alphonse is an enrolled member of Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island, Canada. He has been teaching the language for over 10 years at the University of Michigan. He retired from General Motors as a General Supervisor in Plant Engineering and Manufacturing after 33 years of service. He is a board member at Nokomis Learning Center in Okemos, Michigan. 

Ghost Supper Community Fall Feast
Saturday, November 5th | 5:00-7:00 p.m. 
Trotter Multicultural Center, Multipurpose Room

The Ghost Supper Community Feast is a chance for us to come together and honor our ancestors as we enjoy foods from the University's Native American Inspired Menu including Bison Meatballs, Three Sisters Stew, and Whitefish Dip. 

Peer-Led Anti-racism Teach-in 
Monday, November 7th | 6:00–7:30 p.m.
Join via Zoom

Racial justice begins with anti-racism. Anti-racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies, practices, and attitudes so that power is redistributed and shared equitably (University of Calgary). This peer-led teach-in will engage analytical frameworks for examining systemic cultural, social, economic, and political forces in the community along with individual reflection. Our hope is to raise critical consciousness, understand the opportunity for actions, and how our resources can be distributed.

Feel Good Frybread - UMMA x NAHM Collaboration 
Friday, November 11th | 7:00-10:00 p.m.
UMMA, 525 S State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Join us on the second Friday of the month at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Let art, music, and culture lift you up. Reconnect and recharge each month at Feel Good Friday - November is Feel Good Frybread! A collaboration between MESA's Native American Heritage Month Committee, U-M’s Native American Student Association, and UMMA. This event features performance by globally recognized dancer and activist, Notorious Cree, a live beading demonstration by Heron Hill Designs, and an Indigenous Authors' Book Pop Up with Ariel Ojibway of the U-M Library. 

Black Ash Basket Weaving Workshop 
Sunday, November 13th | 12:00-2:30 p.m. 
Rackham Graduate Building Assembly Hall 4th Floor

A limited capacity class of 40 participants will join Kelly Church for a traditional black ash basket weaving workshop. Register here to attend and you will receive a confirmation upon receiving a spot in the workshop. 

Native American Student Association 50th Anniversary Gala 
Sunday, November 13th | 5:30-8:00 p.m. 
Michigan League Vandenberg Room 

50 years ago on November 13th. 1972 the Native American Student Association came into being at the University of Michigan. The 50th Anniversary Gala is a time to celebrate the amazing accomplishments of the 7 generations that have come before us and to look forward to with hope for the 7 generations to come. 

Seeing Red: Indigenous Land, American Expansion, and the Political Economy of Plunder in North America
Friday, November 18th | 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Register for Zoom Link

Against long odds, the Anishinaabeg resisted removal, retaining thousands of acres of their homeland in what is now Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Their success rested partly on their roles as sellers of natural resources and buyers of trade goods, which made them key players in the political economy of plunder that drove white settlement and U.S. development in the Old Northwest. But, as Michael Witgen demonstrates, the credit for Native persistence rested with the Anishannabeg themselves. Outnumbering white settlers well into the nineteenth century, they leveraged their political savvy to advance a dual citizenship that enabled mixed-race tribal members to lay claim to a place in U.S. civil society.

Michael Witgen is a professor in the Department of History and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University, and he is a citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.

Native American Heritage Month Closing Celebration 
Keynote Talk with Dr. Stephanie Fryberg 

Wednesday, November 30 | 6:00–8:00 p.m.
Michigan Union Pendleton Room

Please join us at the closing event of Native American Heritage Month where we will celebrate a month long of amazing events including a talk with Dr. Stephanie Fryberg on how the omission and invisibility of Native peoples constitutes the modern form of bias that our people experience. The talk will be followed by a community meal, we hope to see you there! 

The Dance for Mother Earth Powwow Exhibition
The exhibition is open from 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM throughout the month of November and coordinated by the University Library
Location: Hatcher Graduate Library 

This exhibit features various aspects of the Native North American powwow. More specifically, it features the history and culture behind Ann Arbor’s "Dance for Mother Earth Powwow," which is approaching its much-anticipated 50th celebration.

The Dance for Mother Earth Powwow is a multi-decade, intertribal celebration of Indigenous cultures. It grew from its early beginnings as a small gathering in a field just outside of Ann Arbor into one of the largest student-led powwows in North America. The event attracts crowds of thousands — dancers, singers, artists, tribal members from across the country, and non-Indigenous members of the community.

Stop by to learn more about The Dance for Mother Earth Powwow, modern Indigenous culture, and resources to connect to today on campus.

Afternoon Carillon Performance during Native American Heritage Month
The following lunchtime carillon recitals will each open with a composition by Navajo composer Connor Chee, Hawaiian composer Queen Lili'uokalani, or an appropriate Ojibwe melody arranged for carillon:

Burton Memorial Tower (Central Campus)

  • Monday, Nov. 7 at 12 pm - Prof. Tiffany Ng
  • Thursday, Nov. 10 at 12 pm - Carson Landry
  • Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 12 pm - Prof. Tiffany Ng
  • Thursday, Nov. 17 at 12 pm - Carson Landry
  • Friday, Nov. 18 at 12 pm - Zoe Lei
  • Monday, Nov. 21 at 12 pm - Prof. Tiffany Ng

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Tower (North Campus)

  • Friday, Nov. 4 at 1:30 pm - Eva Albalghiti
  • Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 1:30 pm - Prof. Tiffany Ng
  • Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 1:30 pm - Dr. Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra
  • Thursday, Nov. 17 at 1:30 pm - Dr. Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra
  • Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 1:30 pm - Carson Landry