With November being National Native American Heritage Month, now is a great time to attend events, learn about campus resources and celebrate the community around you. While this month is specifically dedicated to celebrating Indigenous peoples, we encourage you to continue to learn and celebrate throughout the year!
Things to know
- Native American Heritage Month is a celebration that pays tribute to the rich ancestry, diverse cultures and traditions of Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. Learn more about how this celebration began.
- In October 2020, the CU Office of the President issued the first CU systemwide land recognition acknowledgement. The Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies (CNAIS) is working with CU Boulder’s Idea Council to establish a CU Boulder-specific statement.
Our Cheyenne Arapaho residence hall honors the Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples and the contributions they have made as the original inhabitants and caretakers of the pre-settlement Colorado plains. Previously named Nichols Hall, the protests to change the name were a 20 year long effort by students from all backgrounds, student governments, Oyate - the Native American Student organization at CU Boulder, staff and faculty. Learn more about the full story of Nichols Hall. This effort began in 1968 and finally in 1987, with the advocacy of Norma Rendon, an Oglala Lakota, and other students, the Board of Regents decided to change the name of the residence hall. Protests continued and it wasn’t until 1989 that Roberta Manuelito, a Diné student, with fellow students, observed the adoption of the name Cheyenne Arapaho Hall by the Board of Regents.
Even though the history of Native American students at CU Boulder has been difficult, in 1969, Charles Cambridge, a Diné student, began campaigning for American Indian students who are enrolled tribal members of Federally Recognized Tribes to attend CU Boulder as in-state tuition students. He was also the first American Indian to earn a doctoral degree from CU Boulder. Read more about Dr. Cambridge and his contributions to the university.
After 50 years of effort by CU community members, alumni and the Board of Regents, Gov. Jared Polis signed the in-state tuition bill on June 28, 2021. This bill grants Native American students who are enrolled in a tribe that is historically linked to Colorado to receive in-state tuition.
Additional ways to celebrate
Whatever your interests or hobbies are, take time this month (and every month!) to read, watch, listen or learn about Indigenous stories, creators, news and perspectives.
Listen to a podcast:
- All My Relations Podcast: Each episode invites guests to delve into a different topic facing Native peoples.
- Native Artist Podcast: This podcast brings Indigenous artists to talk about their perspectives on navigating these fields while reclaiming Native identity.
- Toasted Sister Podcast: Andi Murphy talks to Native chefs about Indigenous cuisine and how it connects them to their community, origins and traditions.
- Visit the Denver Art Museum to appreciate Northwest Coast and Alaska Native Art Galleries as well as the Indigenous Arts of North America Collection.
- Visit the Indigenous Mural on the basement level of CU Boulder’s Visual Arts Center. This mural reflects the challenges Indigenous students have faced and recognizes this space for them at CU Boulder. It is a chance for all who pass through to reflect, think critically and feel inspired to make a difference in the way this university looks, feels and operates.
Check out Indigenous films, YouTubers and more
- The 1491s are a sketch comedy group that make satirical videos on YouTube.
- Indigenous stories from Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting (PBS).
- Young Lakota directed by Cecilia Fire Thunder.
- Additional movies to watch.
Explore Indigenous authors by genre:
- CU Boulder’s Buffs One Read title: American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures (pg. 143) where Frank Waln, a Sicangu Lakota hip-hop artist from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, shares his story.
- The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich (fiction)
- Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo (non-fiction, memoir)
- The Winona LaDuke Chronicles: Stories from the Front Lines in the Battle for Environmental Justice by Winona LaDuke (environmental)
- Playing Indian by by Philip J. Deloria (history)
- Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Kimmerer (nature)
- As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (non-fiction)
CNAIS has a library where students are welcome to stop by and check out books by Indigenous authors.
Check out work from CU faculty:
Catch up on news including climate justice, law and more:
- Keystone XL Pipeline Project
- Native American National Law News
- Scholarly articles, books to read, videos to watch and more
- Honor The Earth
Ways to learn more:
- Indigenous Research & Knowledges in North America guide
- Native Appropriations is a forum for discussing representations of Native peoples, including stereotypes, cultural appropriation, news, activism and more.
- Cultural card guide to build awareness debunks myths about American Native and Alaskan Native history, culture and more.
- A guide to support Indigenous Peoples Day was created by IllumiNative, a Native-led nonprofit to help change the way that Americans and institutions think about and engage with Native communities.
- Native Land is an interactive digital map where you can trace whose land you're on and include them in your land acknowledgments.