This November, UNC recognizes the indigenous peoples of the United States from over 570 federally recognized tribal nations and 75 state recognized tribes. Native American Heritage month was formally designated by President George H.W. Bush through joint resolution in 1990. Throughout the month of November, Native American Student Services seeks to align the educational initiatives with the mission and values: to build awareness around historical and contemporary Native issues, while acknowledging and exemplifying the rich culture, tradition, history, and language of American Indian and Alaska Native peoples.
The University of Northern Colorado sits upon the traditional territories of the Ute, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Lakota peoples. Further, we acknowledge that 48 tribes are historically tied to the state of Colorado.
If you are considering sharing a land acknowledgment statement, here are some questions to reflect upon:
- Why are we performing this land acknowledgment?
- Am I familiar with the histories of the people I am acknowledging?
- Am I familiar and have a relationship with the contemporary population of these communities?
- Does our organization understand the Native people we serve? Is this based on assumptions or through authentic connection?
- Will this be the only action I make in relation to Native people this year?
Director and Assistant Director of NASS, Dr. Charley and Johana Flores, respectively) along with their student staff continue to educate and inform the UNC campus community of the social and political needs of Native America. This year, NASS seeks to educate the UNC community about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Movement.
Indigenous women are murdered at a rate 10 times higher when compared to the national average (Department of Justice). Murder is the third leading cause of death among Native girls and women between the ages of 10-24 years (Centers for Disease Control). The vast majority of these murder or missing person cases occur on Native-owned lands. In many situations, the perpetrator is non-Native. Many of these murder and missing person cases are rarely investigated by state, local, and tribal law enforcement, and many cases never are resolved.
In effort to recognize the leadership and courage of the leaders at the forefront of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Movement, NASS is collaborating with poet Tanaya Winder, an enrolled member of the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, her background includes Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, Diné, and Black heritages. Tanaya has created a video series honoring and recognizing the leadership of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, which will be hosted on NASS’ InstagramTV and Facebook the week of November 9 -13, 2020. To support Tanaya, please visit her website.
On Thursday, November 19 at 4 p.m., NASS will be sharing a virtual screening of the film, Turquoise Rose, a story about "T", a young Navajo college student who was raised in the suburbs of Phoenix. T is about to embark on a summer trip to Europe with her college roommate, but all that suddenly changes when her grandmother falls sick. Turquoise is asked to care for her ailing grandma, and suddenly Turquoise must choose between Rome and the Reservation.
After the film, join staff for a zoom session with the film's director and writer, Travis Hamilton Holt, and Actor Ernie Tsosie, Navajo.
Once you have registered for the event via Eventbrite, you will receive a link to stream the film and the link to the zoom session.
Lastly, if you had not had the chance, please check out the NASS blog on Indigenous Resistance Foods, and check out NASS InstagramTV for a video on how to make Fry Bread, another tutorial from Shea Ortiz, on how to make Green Chile Stew will be released the week of November 9.
Dr. Tobias J. Guzmán
Vice President of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion