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Native American and Indigenous Heritage Month

What is NAIHM?

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

Native American and Indigenous Heritage Month is a time to intentionally celebrate the unique, rich, and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native peoples while acknowledging the important contributions of Native and Indigenous people. NAIHM is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to overcome these challenges.

At Vanderbilt University, the Student Center for Social Justice & Identity curates a calendar of events related to Native American heritage, featuring programs from across campus and the Nashville community.

Please see below for the full list of events in November and to directly access the Zoom Links for any and all programs!

NAHM Kickoff

Date: Wednesday, November 1
Time: 11-2 PM
Location: Multicultural Community Space (MCS; Located in the West End Neighborhood)
Description: Join the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity (SCSJI) and the Indigenous Scholars Organization (ISO) in kicking off Native American Heritage Month (NAIHM) on Wednesday, November 1st from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM in the Multicultural Community Space (MCS). Come for an afternoon of games, coloring pages, and great company!
To RSVP for the event, click here

Art Night w/ ISO

Date: Wednesday, November 8th
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: Kissam A117
Who: ISO and Vandy Spoken Word
Event Description: Details coming soon!

Tourism in Asia and the Pacific

Date: Monday, November 6
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: Multicultural Community Space (MCS)
Who: ISO and AASA
Description: The event will consist of various interactive stations where attendees can learn more about tourist economies in vulnerable lands, how harm is perpetuated in these tourist locations, and how to uplift any indigenous or local resistance or advocacy efforts.
To RSVP for the event, click here


Date: Saturday,November 11
Time: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: Commons Fireside Room
Who: ISO
Description: Details coming soon!

Cooking with SCSJI: NAIHM Edition

Date: Monday, November 13
Time: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Location: Vanderbilt Recreation & Wellness Teaching Kitchen
Description: Come join SCSJI and cook with us as we uplift Native American and Indigenous culture! Learn how to make a native cultural dish by a local Nashville chef and enjoy the treat you made yourself! Join us in the teaching kitchen at the Recreation & Wellness Center on November 13 from 6-7:30pm for community, fun, and food!
To RSVP for the event, click here

‘Imagining the Indian’ Film Screening and Panel

Date: Wednesday, November 15
Time: 5:00 PM – 8:15 PM
Location: Rothschild Great Room and Black Box Theatre
Who: SCSJI, Vanderbilt Athletics, Residential Colleges, ISO, NAIA, and MOSAIC
Description:SCSJI, in collaboration with Vanderbilt Athletics, Residential Colleges, the Indigenous Scholars Association (ISO), Native American Indian Association of Tennessee, and MOSAIC, is excited to host a film screening of Imagining the Indian: The Fight Against American Mascoting.
Imagining the Indian is an award-winning documentary that examines the movement that is ending the use of Native American names, logos, and mascots in the world of sports and beyond. The film explores the impact that stereotyping and marginalization of Native history have had on Native people.
Following the film, there will be a panel discussion with filmmakers Ben West and Yancey Burns and Native Indian Association of Tennessee representative Shayna Hobbs to share their expertise.
5:00 – Reception in Rothschild Great Room
6:00 – Film Screening in Rothschild Black Box Theatre
7:35 – Panel to follow film screening 
Seating is limited for the event, so please make sure to RSVP. There are also limited parking spots available for attendees. For any questions regarding parking, accommodations, or accessibility, please contact Kauthar Gaber at
To RSVP for the event, click here

Part of celebrating Native American Heritage Month is acknowledging the historical legacies that the lands our institutions, hometowns, counties, and states are on, hold.

“A Land Acknowledgment is a formal statement that recognizes the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.”

Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group, Ontario, Canada

Many institutions across the country have adopted the practice of opening events with a statement of acknowledgement that recognizes the lands longer history, and its significance for Native peoples who lived and continue to live upon the territory, and whose practices and spiritualties were tied to the land and continue to develop in relationship to the land and its other inhabitants today (adapted from University of Alberta).

Land Acknowledgements are a way to offer recognition and respect for the historic relationship Native communities have with land, a step in creating public awareness that dismantles a distorted history that perpetuates the erasure of Native communities and legacies in, as well as contributions to, the nation’s past at large, and inspire on-going action and relationships that support larger truth-telling and reconciliation efforts. 

Want to know more about the historical legacy between

your institution, hometown, county, and Native peoples?

Check out:

Diverse Native America: 

Conversations about Different Careers in Indian Country

Date: Friday, 11/8

Time: 7:00PM CST – 8:00PM CST

Location: Rand Hall (308)

Join NATIVe and VAISES for a panel discussion on the diverse career paths within Indian Country today! We will have a fashion designer, a poet, and a geneticist present to discuss their careers, experiences, and shed light on their diverse experiences.





The Art of Resistance

Date: Tuesday, 11/12

Time: 6:30PM CST – 8:00PM CST

Location: Student Life Center – Ballroom

Join NATIVe for an evening of poetry, traditional song and dance, and story telling for the third annual cultural showcase, Art of Resistance, celebrating Native American Heritage Month.






Native American Women Artists at the Frist

Date: Thursday, 11/14

Time: 5:30PM CST – 8:00PM CST

Location: Student Life Center – Ballroom

Join NATIVe and VAISES for dinner and then a bus ride to the Frist Art Museum to attend at talk by one of the featured artists, Rose B. Simpson.

The first 20 people to RSVP will be able to join NATIVe and VAISES for dinner and a brief conversation at the Women’s Center at 5:20 pm. Then transportation to the Frist will be provided to attend Simpson’s talk at 6:30PM and see the exhibit. The Frist is free for college students on Thursday and Friday evenings from 5-9 pm with your student ID.