Published: Nov. 1, 2021

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. 

Upcoming events

Participate in campus events to hear from Indigenous voices and perspectives, learn, find community and more. 

To hear from Indigenous perspectives:

Indigenous Planning: Community Development Practices
Nov. 1, 5:15-6 p.m., virtual

Join the conversation with Laura Harjo, an associate professor for Native American Studies in the University of Oklahoma, while she shares ways of carrying out Indigenous planning processes that are focused on the futures that communities wish to live in. Check out the Zoom link to take part in this event. 

Run to Be Visible: Film Screening and Discussion 
Nov. 3, 5:30 p.m., Patagonia Boulder (1630 Pearl St.)

Dr. Lydia Jennings (Wixárika & Yoeme) made a 50-mile honor run last March honoring 50 Indigenous scientists who inspired her academic path. The run was made into a short 18-minute film by her fellow Indigenous runner, Jordan Marie Daniel (Lakota). Film begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by discussion with Lydia, filmmakers and members of the local Indigenous scientific community.

Indigenous CU Panel
Nov. 5, 4-6 p.m., University Memorial Center 384-386

Join the Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies for a panel discussion featuring Native American alumni through the decades. This panel, moderated by Ian Her Many Horses, will discuss Native American student experiences and key moments of Native American history at CU Boulder for the Chancellor’s CU Boulder History Project

The Ways We Name Ourselves: In the Indigenous Community
Nov. 9, 5-6:30 p.m., Center for Community, Abrams Lounge

Words matter. And they change over time as we change as people and communities. Join in the conversation around the terms we use in our communities, how we name ourselves and how we don’t always agree across our own communities on those terms.

To learn more about diversity and allyship:

If you want to find community:

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: 

Enjoy art:

  • 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

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:

Ways to learn more: