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Native American Heritage Month

What is NAHM?

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 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 people. NAHM 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.

The print version of the calendar is available below, or for PDF download please click here: NAHM Calendar 2022.

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: Tuesday November 1st | 10am-2pm
Location: Multicultural Community Space (MCS; Located in the West End Neighborhood)
Join the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity (SCSJI) and the Indigenous Scholars Organization (ISO) in kicking off Native American Heritage Month (NAHM) on Tuesday, November 1st from 10:00am-2:00pm in the Multicultural Community Space (MCS). Let’s celebrate Native and Indigenous culture through great food, fun, and friends!

Advancing Health Equity for Native Americans

Date: Tuesday, November 8th | 12:00pm
Location: Frist Hall 140, RSVP Here
Vanderbilt School of Nursing- Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Tribal social determinants of health (SDOH) have unique histories in Native American populations, including historical trauma, boarding schools, adverse childhood experiences, poverty, federal food programs, and food deserts. These factors – combined with systems, policies, and environments outside the healthcare sector – have powerful influences on health. With more than 70% of Native Americans residing in urban communities or away from their homelands, the panel will discuss how providers can address SDOH and promote health equity for Native Americans in their practice.
Panelists: Beverly Cotton, DNP, Nashville Area Director of Indian Health Service, Vanderbilt School of Nursing Alumni 2014 Theresa Moore, MSN, ARNP, PMHNP-BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Washoe Tribal Healing Center, Vanderbilt School of Nursing DNP Student Alec Thundercloud, MD, Nashville Area Clinical Director of Indian Health Service.

Inclusive Book Group discussion of The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

Date: Wednesday, November 9th | 12pm
Location: RSVP Here
Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center
The Inclusive Book Group will discuss The Sentence by Louise Erdrich on Wednesday, November 9 at 12:00 p.m. This event is virtual. The Sentence is about the experiences of Tookie, a member of the Ojibwe tribe (to which the author Erdrich also belongs).

Dylan Robinson in Conversation with Joy H. Calico (University Distinguished Professor of Musicology and German Studies)

Date: Wednesday, November 9th | 12:20-1:10pm
Location: Choral Hall; RSVP Here
Blair School of Music
Dylan Robinson, xwélméxw (Stó:lō) writer, artist, scholar, and curator in residency at Vanderbilt as a Patterson Fellow 8-10 November 2022

Destress/Board Game Night

Date: Tuesday, November 15th | 7:30-9pm
Location: Multicultural Community Space (MCS; Located in the West End Neighborhood)
Mosaic and Indigenous Scholars Organization (ISO)
Join Mosiac and ISO for a crash course on NAHM and the opportunity to build community and destress from the midterm season with board games like Cards for Decolonization.

Documentary Screening – Promised Land

Date: Thursday, November 17th | 6:7:30pm CST
Location: Virtual- RSVP Here
Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI)
Join IndigneousVU, through the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for a free virtual screening of the award-winning documentary Promised Land. Discussion to follow.

Art & Advocacy Panel

Date: Tuesday, November 29th | TBD
Location: Virtual- RSVP Here
Student Center for Social Justice and Identity (SCSJI), LGBTQI Life (KC Potter Center) & Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI)
Join SCSJI, LGBTQI Life, and EDI in our art and advocacy panel focused on several native and indigenous artists that use their experiences and creative talents to highlight social justice issues that affect their communities in order to bring about change. You can access the event recording HERE.

Stay Tuned: Art of Resistance

Date: TBD
Location: TBD
Indigenous Scholars Organization (ISO)
ISO’s capstone event for the fall semester! They will be featuring Native artists to perform a piece of art with us (spoken word, dance, song, etc.).

This Native American Heritage Month, the SCSJI, NATIVe, VAISES and other campus partners are committed to promoting the importance of narratives and storytelling in Native American culture, as well as narrative changes for the Native community at Vanderbilt and the broader Native community at large. The passing down of history and learnings through storytelling is a fundamental cultural practice in Native American cultures. Moreover, the narrative of Native Americans as a vanishing race is one that NAHM aspires to do away with; Native Americans are in fact thriving and existing in modernity in diverse and important ways. This year, NAHM at Vanderbilt looks to amplify the voices of Native peoples and elevate the understated lived realities of Native peoples.

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.