November marks Native American Heritage Month as a time to recognize the diverse traditions and cultures of Native Americans and Indigenous People. The federal designation was created in 1990 through a presidential proclamation and has continued to be observed ever since.
The month is dedicated to showcasing the contributions and the rich and varied cultures among Native American tribes and nations. It is also a time to reflect on and remember this country’s history of forced relocation and cultural assimilation. For example, while many observe Thanksgiving Day as a celebration, it is considered a National Day of Mourning for many Indigenous tribes across the nation.
In Colorado, we occupy the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute Nations. CU Denver and Metropolitan State University of Denver have partnered to host a series of events this month to educate our campus community about the history of the land we call home and to celebrate Indigenous Peoples.
Native Indigenous Heritage Month Kick Off: Understanding the Indian Child Welfare Act Supreme Court Decision
Nov. 2, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
St. Cajetan’s Church
Speakers will share information about the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law aimed at preventing Native American children from being separated from their extended families and their tribes. The act was recently challenged by a perspective adoptive parent in Texas and the Supreme Court upheld the federal law in June to protect tribal sovereignty and tribes as a political entity. This tri-institutional event gives attendees an opportunity to gain knowledge of and an understanding regarding tribal status and the political standing of tribes.
Lunch and Learn: Indigenous Origins of Lacrosse with Clark TallBull.
Nov. 6, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
PE Event Center
MSU Denver’s Club Lacrosse Team and the Center for Equity and Student Achievement will host a talk to inform community members about the Indigenous origins of lacrosse. Clark TallBull, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe from Montana will lead the talk. Clark founded the Native Lacrosse Youth Program in Denver in 1994 and served on the Colorado Lacrosse Foundation for more than a decade. He also served as the director of the Indigenous Games in 2006 and was the Haudenosaunee National liaison for the World Lacrosse Championship in 2014. Members of all campus education institutions are welcome.
Nov. 13 – 17
This week, we invite students to wear something that represents your heritage. CU Denver and MSU Native-Indigenous Student Support Center for Equity & Student Achievement are sponsoring themed days:
- Monday: Wear your ribbon skirt, ribbon shirt, or traditional clothing
- Tuesday: Wear your Native jewelry and beadwork
- Wednesday: National Rock Your Mocs Day (wear traditional moccasins or footwear and use the hashtag #RockYourMocs on social media)
- Thursday: Slay your Braids Day. Dr. White Eagle will be available to braid hair at Student Commons, room 2007B, if you need help.
- Friday: Wear your Tribal T-shirt, a red shirt for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, or an orange shirt for boarding school survivors
Take photos and tag CU Denver and MSU to share with our broader community and to show your pride.
Drag Bingo and Buffalo Barbie
Nov. 15, Noon – 1 p.m.
Tivoli Student Union, Multicultural Lounge
The Center for Equity and Student Achievement and the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion at Metropolitan State University and the Center for Identity and Inclusion at CU Denver are teaming up for an afternoon of bingo, that will give participants a better understanding of Indigenous culture. Buffalo Barbie will lead the bingo session. Buffalo Barbie is an advocate for LGBTQ rights within the Native American community. He identifies as Two Spirit, which derives from traditional philosophies of gender-defined spaces with a male and female universe.
Sand Creek Massacre Awareness and Educational Discussion
Nov. 30, Noon – 1 p.m.
Jordan Student Success Building, Room 400
Greg Spottedbird-Lamebull, a descendant of the Sand Creek Massacre and member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, will discuss the U.S. Army’s 1864 attack on a community of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. More than 160 people, mostly women and children were killed along the Big Sandy Creek in what is now southeastern Colorado. As an educator and spiritual leader, Spottedbird-Lamebull has served as the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Culture and Heritage Program representative, Tradition Not Addiction program organizer, Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run coordinator, and Outreach Specialist for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.