Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs

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. 

Checkout the NAHM website for highlights and recordings of all events! 

Indigenous Peoples' Day - Sovereignty and Indigeneity in the Big Ten: Telling Our Stories
Monday, October 12th, 4PM 
Join us this Indigenous Peoples’ Day for a collaborative panel discussion led by Native researchers and practitioners in the Big Ten. The panel will focus on Native experiences in academia, Indigenous led research and pedagogy, and how these are reflected in the national political and social climates.

Considering Search Terms In Historical Research: Native American Tribes and Indigenous Peoples Of The Americas - MLibrary Event
Wednesday, October 14th, 1:00-1:30PM
#HowToLibrary: Quick tips and tricks for making the most of the U-M Library, provided online through Zoom. How to locate alternate spelling conventions and use boolean operators for search terms in historical research. More info on the MLibrary website. 

A History of Native American Activism and Policy
Part 1: Friday, October 16th, 6PM
Part 2: Sunday, October 18th, 6PM
Learn about the beginnings of the American Indian Movement and the organized protests that they led including the Occupation of Alcatraz and Wounded Knee. Also learn how the activism of the 1960's lives on and how we are dealing with issues in the Native community today.

Native Representations with Dr. Adrienne Keene
Co-Sponsored by the Native American Student Association and the Native American Studies Program at the University of Michigan

Thursday, October 22nd, 7PM EST
This talk will focus on stereotypes and cultural appropriation, and looks at the ways Native peoples are represented throughout popular culture and the ways Native peoples are pushing back on misrepresentation through social and new media. This talk explores the ways Native peoples have harnessed the power of storytelling through social media to change perceptions, make our communities visible, and tell our own modern, diverse stories in our own voices.

Movie Night with the Native American Student Association 
Friday, October 23rd, 8PM EST
Hang out with NASA for a spooky movie night! 

Indigenous Environmental Justice with Dr. Kyle Whyte 
Tuesday, October 27th, 6PM EST
Kyle’s research addresses moral and political issues concerning climate policy and Indigenous peoples, the ethics of cooperative relationships between Indigenous peoples and science organizations, and problems of Indigenous justice in public and academic discussions of food sovereignty, environmental justice, and the anthropocene. He is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Join this talk to learn more about Indigenous Environmental Justice and Dr. Whyte's research. 

Ziibimijwang Farm and Indigenous Food Sovereignty
Wednesday, October 28th, 6PM EST
Join us to hear from Ziibimijwang Farm and their amazing work with Indigenous Food Sovereignty right here in the mitten! Ziibimijwang (ZEE-Ba mige-waang) is owned by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. The purpose of the 100 acre farm will enhance LTBB food sovereignty by providing a reliable food source for the community independent of the larger food system, encouraging a healthy lifestyle for our people and enhancing people’s knowledge and ability to do farming/gardening and subsistence activities for themselves. Ziibimijwang is located in the “Tip of the Mitt” only 10 miles south of Mackinaw City, Michigan. Proud to grow high quality, nutritionally dense, seasonal vegetables using sustainable farming practices that will follow Organic standards that care for the soil, groundwater, and adjacent natural areas. No synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides on the farm.

Feasting for Our Ancestors: Ghost Supper & Dia de los Muertos Celebration. Latinx & Native American Heritage Month Collaboration with Sacramento Knoxx
Sunday, November 1st, 6PM EST
The Latinx and Native American Heritage Month planning committees are looking forward to coming together and taking part in learning and sharing about autumn Ghost Supper & Dia de Los Muertos traditions! Join us virtually as we engage with our speaker, Sacramento Knoxx! Sacramento Knoxx is an Ojibwe/Anishinaabe and Xicano media artist, emcee, music producer, and community cultural worker. As a prominent interdisciplinary artist from Southwest Detroit, Knoxx brings audiences a blend of visual art and performance that inspires, educates, motivates, and engages youth and elders alike in communities of color. His work is a creative expression of identify, love, and healing that challenges and confronts social ills.

Lecture on Native American Studies: A Conversation with Tommy Orange
Friday, November 6th, 7PM EST
Tommy Orange is the author of the bestselling New York Times novel There There, a multigenerational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few of us have ever explored – the lives of urban Native Americans. There There was one of the New York Times’ 10 Best books of the year and won the Center for Fictions First Novel Prize and the Pen/Hemingway Award. There There was longlisted for the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Orange graduated from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts and was a 2014 MacDowell Fellow, and 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland California.

A Conversation with Gary 'Litefoot' Davis
Co- Sponsored by the Ross School of Business

Tuesday, November 10th, 6PM EST
Gary “Litefoot” Davis is a Native American Business Professional, Entrepreneur, Actor, Rap Artist, Publisher, Podcaster, and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He is the Executive Director of the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA), CEO of Davis Strategy Group and a member of the Forbes Finance Council. As an actor, he is known for his roles as Little Bear in the movie The Indian in the Cupboard, and Nightwolf in Mortal Kombat Annihilation. As a Publisher, he has launched Native Business Magazine to communicate happenings in Indian Country. Also, Gary is a recipient of the prestigious Sevenstar Award given by the Cherokee Nation Historical Society to recognize those that have brought honor to the Cherokee people.

How and Why We Learn Anishinaabemowin
Wednesday, November 11th, 6PM EST
Each year many of our elders leave us to continue speaking and teaching Anishinaabemowin. This past year, two friends and fellow teachers left us. We’ll share some of the stories, phrases and lessons Leonard Kimewon and James Fox once shared with us and talk about how we’ve made them part of our classrooms. At this event we will share resources for learning Anishinaabemowin. Join Alphonse Pitawanakwat, Kayla Gonyon, Dr. Cherry Meyer, and Dr. Margaret Noodin for this presentation. 

Powwow Fitness with Jasmine Pawlicki
Friday, November 13th, 12PM EST
Take a lunch break for some Powwow Fitness! Jasmine will lead us through some basic Powwow steps to get us moving and staying fresh for the Socially Distanced Powwow Trail! All levels of dancers welcome and encouraged to attend! 

As Told in Michigan's First Language- Books in Anishinaabemowin
Sunday, November 15th, 3PM EST
Bebikaan-ezhiwebiziwinan Nimkii: The Adventures of Nimkii is the story of a modern dog who lives an adventurous life through all four seasons. Written by her human companion, Stacie Sheldon, and illustrated by Rachel Butzin, the book is intended to start conversations between children and adults. Learners will notice the book provides a basic introduction to most of the things that make Ojibwe unique in an interactive format. The book is fully bilingual, translated by Margaret Noodin and designed by Cecelia LaPointe.

Join Anishinaabemowin language speakers, Stacie Sheldon and Margaret Noodin for an afternoon of Books in Anishinaabemowin! 

Amanaki; Centering Indigenous Hope and Resilience as Decolonial Practices  with Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu
Tuesday, November 17th, 6PM EST
Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu is a Tongan/Pacific Islander scholar, poet and community organizer. Fui received her doctorate from the Comparative Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley in 2019 and is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is working on two book manuscripts; The Mana of the Tongan Everyday: Tongan Grief and Mourning, Patriarchal Violence, and Remembering Va and a collection of creative non-fiction titled, Looking For Hine Nui Te Po: Searching for Our Mother. 

MESA Anti-Racism Teach-In
Wednesday, November 18th, 6PM EST
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.

Afro-Indigeneity on the Way to a Post-Settler World with Dr. Kyle T. Mays and Amber Starks
Co-Sponsored by the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies

Friday, November 20th, 6PM EST
Join us for this panel discussion as we examine these intersecting identities and Afro-Indigenous experiences today. Dr. Kyle T Mays (Black/Saginaw Anishinaabe) is a transdisciplinary scholar and public intellectual of Indigenous studies, Afro-Indigenous studies, urban history, and Indigenous popular culture. He is an Assistant Professor in Africa American Studies at UCLA. He earned his Ph.D. in the Department of History at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign in 2015. At present, he is working on three books. The first is titled, Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America (Forthcoming, June 2018, SUNY Press). 
Amber Starks, known as @MelaninMvskoke on social media, is a Black Mvskoke (Creek) citizen whose tweets and Instagram art encourage Black and Indigenous peoples to prioritize one another and divest from compartmentalizing struggles. Starks started her own business called Conscious Coils, that helps people with traditional African American hair care. She says on her website: “My ultimate goal is to inform and support individuals and families who choose natural hair. I desire that anyone choosing this journey will feel bold and comfortable rocking their curls in all aspects of their lives.”

Up Close with 'A Day in the Life of a Researcher' Project with SACNAS
Thursday, December 3rd, 6PM
We hope through this event we can demystify research and show the diversity of research/researchers. A common complaint of researchers (especially first-generation) is that they have a hard time explaining to friends and family what they do in the lab. Many young students enter research and are quickly discouraged because the research lab they start in was not how they thought research is. Many middle/high school students do not have an opportunity to visit a college/university and research labs. This Initiative aims to curb this sometimes limiting factor by bringing the lab/research to life without ever having to leave your computer!

Native American Heritage Events