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30 Days of Indigenous

Nov 1 - Land Acknowledgement


According to, a Land Acknowledgement is “a formal statement that recognizes and land-acknowledgement-poster.pngrespects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.”

“To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory you reside on, and a way of honoring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. It is important to understand the long-standing history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation. It is also worth noting that acknowledging the land is Indigenous protocol.” (

Northwestern University

Northwestern is a community of learners situated within a network of historical and contemporary relationships with Native American tribes, communities, parents, students, and alumni. It is also in close proximity to an urban Native American community in Chicago and near several tribes in the Midwest.

The Northwestern campus sits on the traditional homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires, the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa as well as the Menominee, Miami and Ho-Chunk nations. It was also a site of trade, travel, gathering and healing for more than a dozen other Native tribes and is still home to over 100,000 tribal members in the state of Illinois.

It is within Northwestern's responsibility as an academic institution to disseminate knowledge about Native peoples and the institution's history with them. Consistent with the University's commitment to diversity and inclusion, Northwestern works towards building relationships with Native American communities through academic pursuits, partnerships, historical recognitions, community service and enrollment efforts.

Native American Heritage Month 2019

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we invite you to help spread awareness and reflection on Northwestern’s place in relation to the land.

We invite you to offer a land acknowledgement in your workspace in whatever form is meaningful to you. You can offer a land acknowledgement at the beginning of a meeting or an event you are hosting.

We have designed a flyer specifically for this occasion that we invite you to print or post wherever you’d like- on your office door, in your department or building space, in your e-mail signature, on your website’s homepage. If you’d like more resources for learning about land acknowledgements, you can visit this website:

Nov 2 - Recipes

As the weather turns colder, consider making some of these recipes to warm the soul.

The recipes below use ingredients indigenous to North America that were/are used by Native Peoples prior to contact with Europeans. For example, corn, first cultivated thousands of years ago, is a sacred plant and featured heavily in the creation stories and traditions of many Native communities.  As Robin Wall Kimmerer says in an essay about corn, “In my own Potawatomi language, we say mandamin, or the Wonderful Seed.

The scientific name is Zea mays, “mays” referring to the Taino name that Columbus recorded in his journal when first tasting “a sort of grain which they call mahiz, which very well tasted when boiled, roasted, or made into porridge.” Mahiz, meaning the “Bringer of Life,” became the word maize in English. These indigenous names honor maize as the center of culture and reflect a deeply respectful relationship between people and the one who sustains them.”

The care and respect given to land, plants, animals, and water is at the core of an Indigenous life. This draws from a deep understanding that everything is entangled and our existence is dependent on all life. There is a cultural importance to the foods that are eaten, that extends beyond tradition, and is rooted in a relationship to a particular place and the foods that place provides.

“The continent’s Indigenous People were healthy and lived off the land around them. Tribal people’s relationship with the land, plants and animals yielded invaluable wisdom about how to marshal resources – in even the harshest environments – in order to sustain communities over generations."  

-from Native Food Systems Resource Center 

As you consider making a recipe, please take a moment to watch the video below. In it, Winona LaDuke speaks about the relationship with food, land, community, and discusses food sovereignty and ways in which Indigenous communities are ensuring bio-diverse and sustainable foods for the future.

The Recipes

Hunters Stew Wóle Wičháša Waháņpi Tȟáwa (Sean Sherman)
1 ounce dried wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, trumpet, or morels
1 cup boiling water
3 Tablespoons sunflower oil
2½ to 3 pounds bear, lamb, or bison, cut into 2-inch cubes
Coarse salt
Crushed juniper
3 wild onions or 1 large leek, white part, trimmed
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon minced fresh oregano
2 teaspoons sumac to taste
1 cup Corn or Bison Stock
  1. Put the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Soak about 20 minutes until softened. Drain and reserve the soaking liquid. Chop the mushrooms and set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy pot, heat the sunflower oil over medium-high heat and brown the meat pieces in batches, seasoning with salt and juniper. Be careful not to crowd the pan. Cook each batch about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the browned meat to a platter.
  3. Reduce the heat and add the onions, mushrooms, oregano and sumac, and sauté until the onion is soft and the mushrooms release some of their liquid, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped, reconstituted wild mushrooms and the soaking liquid and the stock, stirring to dislodge any brown bits that stick to the pan.
  4. Return the meat to the pot, bring to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, until the meat is fork tender, about 2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Remove from the heat and let sit a few minutes before serving.
Wild Rice Salad (Kermit Valentino c/o Pam Silas)

2 cup wild rice, rinsed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries or craisins
3/4 cup pecans, or walnuts toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (or to taste) real maple syrup

  1. Add rice, salt and 6 ½ cups of water to a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer until rice is done, about 50 minutes.
  3. Transfer rice to strainer to drain any excess water, set aside to cool.
  4. Combine rice with cranberries, craisins, pecans, syrup, then serve.
Coal Roasted Gete Okosomin Bisque (Karlos Baca)

For Soup:

6 cups gete okosomin squash (or use butternut squash as a substitute)
2 cups purslane or 2 teaspoons purslane powder
1 teaspoon crushed juniper berry (seed removed)
1 cup wild plums (pitted)
1 tablespoon biscuit root (grated)
1 tablespoon wild onion flower (dried)
2 teaspoons salt (divided in half)
2 tablespoons sunflower Oil
2 cups water

For Toppings:

4 dehydrated squash blossoms
1 teaspoon 3 leaf sumac
1 teaspoon wild amaranth seed
2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon calendula petals
  1. Remove seeds from squash and season cavity with Purslane, Juniper, and Salt. Roast squash directly in hot coals, rotating often, until soft. Remove from coals and cut off blackened exterior. Cut into large chunks.
  2. In a pot, cast iron preferable, add Sunflower Oil, Squash, Wild Plum, Biscuit Root, Wild Onion Flowers, and Salt. Sautèe until browned and deglaze with water. Reduce liquid by half and remove from heat.
  3. Add squash mixture to blender and liquefy. (Add small increments of water if necessary to create creamy consistency)
  4. Salt to taste.
  5. Distribute evenly between four bowls and top with 3 Leaf Sumac, Wild Amaranth Seed, Squash Blossom, Pumpkin Seed, and Calendula Petals.
  6. ENJOY!
3 Sisters Harvest Vegetable Soup

2 cups Hulled White Corn, cooked/prepared ahead
15 oz. can of kidney or pinto beans
32 oz. vegetable broth
2  15 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cups winter squash, peeled and cubed
½ cup carrots, diced
1 cup parsnips, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Prepare ahead Iroquois Hulled White Corn. See directions here.
  2. Warm the oil in a large soup pot on medium heat. Add onions, celery and garlic. Sauté 10 minutes on low heat.
  3. Add basil and cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Add squash, carrots, parsnips and tomatoes. Simmer until tender. Add beans and corn, simmer for another 10 minutes. Add vegetable broth simmer on low for 10-15 minutes.

More Information/Resources

Indigenous Food Producers

Nov 3 - Podcasts


Podcasts have grown in popularity and enthusiasm. It is estimated that about 1 in 4 Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis[1]. Podcasts allow us to multitask while we listen. They allow the listener to be entertained while they are educated. These are just a sample of podcasts created by Native Americans and provide for both entertainment and some much need education from Indian Country.

Key Learnings

Highlight from the Genre

(from All My Relations Website) On each episode hosts Matika Wilbur (Tulalip and Swinomish) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation), delve into a different topic facing Native peoples today, bringing in guests from all over Indian Country to offer perspectives and stories. We dive deep, play some games, laugh a lot, cry sometimes, and hope that you’ll join us on this journey together.

The AV Club rated All My Relations as the Best New Feminist Podcast. Here’s some of what they had to say, “For indigenous folx that want more access to community or non-Native people who want to listen and learn, this podcast changes how you view Indigeneity and the inclusiveness of your feminism.” 

More Recommendations

  1. The Henceforward
  2. This Land
  3. Native Voice One
  4. Well Four Culture
  5. The Three Directions
  6. Native Opinion Podcast
  7. Let’s Talk Native
  8. While Indigenous
  9. Cultivating Indigenous Voices

[1] Leadem, R. (2017, December 23). The Growth of Podcasts and Why It Matters. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from Entrepreneur:


Nov 4 - Smudging Ceremony

  • Time:12:15pm –12:45pm
  • Location Multi-Belief Space
  • Pamala Silas (Menominee)

Smudging is the practice of burning sage and/or other medicines for cleansing, purifying and healing purposes. Join us once a week for a smudging ceremony led by a Northwestern community member. It is a chance to come together as a community to prepare for the week ahead.

Students, faculty and staff are all welcome to attend.


Nov 5 - Postcard Making

  • Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM  
  • Location: 1936 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208
  • Contact: Multicultural Student Affairs   847.467.6200
What are you doing to prepare the world for future generations? It is common among some Native Americans to consider the impact our choices will have seven generations into the future. All are welcome to stop by the MCC from 9:00AM - 5:00PM and make a commitment to the 7th generation to ensure they inherit a better world that we inherited.

All Faculty/Staff - Student - Graduate Students are welcome.

Nov 6 - Film Festival

Join the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance (NAISA) for an exciting evening of films by Native and Indigenous directors!

All Faculty/Staff - Student - Graduate Students are welcome.

Food and refreshments at 7:30PM
Films start at 8:00PM.

Nov 7 - Lunch N' Learn

  • Time: 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM  
  • Where: Kresge Hall, Treinen Forum, 1515, 1880 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it
  • Cost: Free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided.
  • Contact: Jennifer Michals  
Join us for a discussion about the Adversity and Resiliency for Chicago’s First: The State of Racial Justice for American Indian Chicagoans Report with contributors:
  •  Jasmine Gurneau (Oneida/Menominee), Manager, Native American and Indigenous Initiatives, Northwestern University
  • Pamala Silas (Menominee and Oneida), Associate Director, Center for Native American and Indigenous Research at Northwestern University
  • Cynthia Soto (Sicangu Lakota/Puerto Rican), Director, Native American Support Program, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Shelly Tucciarelli (Oneida), Executive Director, Visionary Ventures NFP Corp.
Faith R. Kares, PhD, Associate Director, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, will facilitate the discussion.
This report was published June 2019 by a team from the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Nov 8 - Craft Circle

  • Time: Noon – 2pm
  • Location: Multicultural Center, 1st Floor
  • Beadwork with Jasmine Gurneau (Oneida/Menominee)

Bring your lunch and creative energy and join us for weekly craft circles. Each week, a member of the Northwestern community will lead us in an art-making activity.

Nov 9 - Music


Through music, Native Americans celebrate life, tribal identity, and the survival of tribal culture. The definition, creation, performance, style, and purpose vary according to time and history, location, cultural values and tradition.  This content will briefly explore Native American music and music by Native Americans Artists.

Native American Music 

Native American music consists primarily of songs, dances and musical instruments. While Native Americans use instruments in most of their music, they rarely play instrumental pieces, as singing is considered the most important part of the music, along with drumming.

For centuries the heartbeat of the Native American culture has resonated through the beat of the Drum. Though various Native American tribes have different traditions regarding the Drum, in all of them it remains one of the most important and highly regarded instruments of the tribe. Some Drums are constructed of a wooden frame, or a carved and hollowed-out log, with deer, elk, horse or buffalo hides stretched taut across the opening by sinew thongs.
The Role of Music

For some tribes, songs may play a vital role in ceremonies, with stories being retold and kept alive. These historical narratives vary widely from tribe to tribe and are an integral part of tribal identity. In the curriculum guide prepared by Minnesota’s Department of Indian Education, the importance of and meaning of singing particular songs is explained that songs are sung for specific purposes. “There are songs to ensure good health, songs that help with the growth of crops, and songs for success in war and hunting. There are lullabies, gambling songs, courting songs and songs that are meant to be sung in the context of religious ceremonies. Among some tribes, the songs are the personal property of the composer and he may give away the song to another tribal member in much the same way that other forms of property are ex-changed. Some songs are meant for everyone to hear. These songs are sung at modern powwows and may include songs such as flag songs and honor songs. Other songs are sung in the context of sacred ceremonies and these are meant to be sacred with only those who have earned that right.”

American Indian Center of Chicago 66th Annual Pow-Wow 

If you’re interested in checking out pow-wow music in person, the American Indian Center of Chicago is hosting their 66th Annual Pow-Wow on Saturday and Sunday, November 8-9, 2019. All are welcome.

Music by Native American Artists

The annual Native American Music Awards or NAMMYs, hosted by the Native American Music Association, aims to showcase “outstanding music initiatives” and promote appreciation for Native American culture. The NAMMYs honor the musical achievements of Native American artists in 30 categories. Launched in 1998, the NAMMYs are considered the leading source for preserving and promoting the songs of American Indians.

Music of 'Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World'

Filmmaker Catherine Bainbridge examines the role of Native Americans in contemporary music history in her documentary Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World. She exposes a critical missing chapter, revealing how indigenous musicians helped influence popular culture.


Interested in hearing Native Artists?

Nov 10 - Online Shops


Cherokee entrepreneur, Gary Davies, describes entrepreneurship as “one of the most traditional activities in [the Native American] community -- trading and working together through commerce.” Tribal nations and individuals have engaged in economic development for centuries. Still today, tribal nations and individuals are continuing these practices “to sustain and create engagement between not just their own individual communities but also abroad”.

Despite misconceptions, contemporary tribal businesses do not only include casinos. There are countless of tribal-owned companies and organizations in areas such as hospitality, tourism, retail, energy, real estate, and transportation, just to name a few. A number of these companies have online shops where owners can reach a wider audience and tap into the trillion-dollar e-commerce market, boosting economic development within Indigenous communities.

Quick Fact

In order to protect both Native American artists as well as buyers of Native American art, Congress created a truth-in-advertising law, the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, to prevent any art or craft to be marketed in a way that “falsely suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian or Indian tribe or Indian arts and crafts organization, resident within the United States”. 

The markets listed below are all Native American owned enterprises.


Food & Food Sovereignty
  • Red Lake Nation Foods (Walleye/Wild Rice) a Native American owned company, dedicated to producing unique specialty products. They are the ONLY American Indian tribe in the U.S. that grows & harvests their own wild rice (MN Cultivated) on local lands.
  • Bedré Chocolates, owned by the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma, is the only Native American tribe to create its own brand of fine chocolate
  • Beyond Buckskin is a website and business dedicated to promoting and selling Native American made fashion, headed by Dr. Jessica Metcalfe (Turtle Mountain Chippewa).
  • B.YELLOWTAIL- is a Native American owned fashion & accessories brand that specializes in storytelling through wearable art. Founded by Bethany Yellowtail (Crow (Apsaalooke) & Northern Cheyenne (Tsetsehestahese & So’taeo’o) Nations).
Wool Blankets
  • Eighth Generation is the first Native-owned company to ever produce wool blankets. Eighth Generation’s Inspired Natives Project, anchored by the tagline “Inspired Natives, not Native-inspired,” builds business capacity among cultural artists while addressing the economic impact of cultural appropriation.
  • Dream Warriors, Indigenous Management Company made up of a collective of Indigenous artists who believe in pursuing passions, dreams, and gifts to better loved ones and communities while also uplifting others

Buy Native: Support Local

Check out Beyond Buckskin’s list of Native-owned artists.  Areas include:
  • Fashion, jewelry and accessories
  • Décor and art
  • Beauty, skin care and health
  • Food
  • Music
  • Books
  • Etsy
Finally, if you are a Native American entrepreneur, check out the Native American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois.

Nov 11 - Veterans Day


Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11 and is an important day in Indian country.

Native Americans have a long tradition of participation in the U.S. military. It is well recognized that, historically, Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups. Some are compelled to serve out of patriotism, others out of clan obligations, cultural mores, family tradition and treaty obligations.

 This content will provide information to the rich history of Native Americans’ participation with the military, as well as ways that communities honor veterans.


Many tribes hold their veterans in especially high regard, praising them and honoring them through ceremonies and awards. Most commonly, Native American veterans are gifted eagle feathers for their service, a sign of highest respect in many tribes. In other cases, veterans are asked to lead honoring ceremonies, such as opening grand entry at powwows, ushering in the flags of the tribe and country, or even giving an opening prayer. 

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian has been charged by Congress with building a National Native American Veterans Memorial to give “all Americans the opportunity to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of service of Native Americans in the Armed Forces of the United States.” The memorial, titled “Warriors' Circle of Honor,” was designed by Harvey Pratt, a Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal member and Vietnam veteran. It is set to be unveiled in November 2020.

Quick Facts about Participation

  • Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups.
  • WWI - Nearly 17,000 Indians served in the military during World War I. However, their numbers were not the only significant part of their war contribution. Some Choctaws, for example, transmitted orders over the telephone in their tribal language. Although not used extensively, the telephone squads were key in helping the United States win several battles that ended the war.
  • Native Americans supported the war in other ways. At home, some 10,000 Native women joined the Red Cross, donating time, money, and clothing.
  • It is noteworthy that Native American warriors chose to fight for the United States even though about half of them did not hold citizenship during all of World War I, as citizenship was not granted until 1924 (also known as The Snyder Act).
  • WWII - One of the most well-known ways Native Americans contributed during the war were with their coding skills. President Obama awards Joseph Medicine Crow (Apsáalooke [Crow], 1913–2016) the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Washington, DC, August 2009.
  •  One of America’s most acclaimed World War II combat units was the 45th Infantry Division, known as the Thunderbirds for their distinctive insignia. The Thunderbirds got their name from their shoulder patch. Each side of the square represents one of the four states—Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico—that originally populated the division.
  • Vietnam - Of the 42,000 American Indians who served in the U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam conflict (1964–75), 90 percent were volunteers. 
  • It’s estimated that 31,000 Native American men and women are currently serving in the military today.

Media Suggestions

  • To learn more, check out the 2007 PBS documentary, “Way of the Warrior,” in which Patty Loew,  interviewed Native American veterans on their experiences and explores the high rate of American Indian military service.
  • PBS documentary, "Warrior Tradition," airs on 11/11/19 on WTTW.

Nov 12 - Campus Walk

  • Location:  Meet at Weber Arch
  • 9:00AM –9:45 am
  • Nikki McDaid-Morgan (Shoshone-Bannock) and Forrest Bruce (Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe)

Join us once a week for a campus walk led by a Northwestern community member. These walks will aid in building our relationships with more than just our Northwestern human relatives.

Open to all students, faculty, staff and community members.

Nov 13 - Smudging Ceremony

  • Time: 12:15pm – 12:45pm
  • Wednesday, 11/13: Multi-Belief Space
  • Jennifer Michals (Citizen Band Potawatomi/LCO Ojibwe/Kickapoo)

Smudging is the practice of burning sage and/or other medicines for cleansing, purifying and healingg purposes. Join us once a week for a smudging ceremony led by a Northwestern community member. It is a chance to come together as a community to prepare for the week ahead.

Students, faculty and staff are all welcome to attend.

Nov 14 - Harvest Dinner

Harvest Indigenous Discussions

  • Time: 5:30pm – 7:00pm
  • Thursday, 11/14: Parkes 120
  • Aaron Golding (Seneca Nation)

Join MSA for our monthly dinner and discussion series on topics important to Indian Country and the Northwestern Native and Indigenous Community. 

All are welcome.

Nov 15 - Craft Circle

Weekly Craft Circles
  • Time: Noon – 2pm
  • Location: Multicultural Center, 1st Floor
  • Jewelry Making with Vincent Romero (Laguna Pueblo)

Bring your lunch and creative energy and join us for weekly craft circles. Each week, a member of the Northwestern community will lead us in an art-making activity.

Nov 16 - Sand Creek Massacre Commemoration

Planned in partnership with NAISA (Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance), the Sand Creek Massacre commemoration is held annually in November to honor the Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples who were killed by United States soldiers during an attack of their village. This event is free and open to the campus community.

To learn more about Sand Creek, please visit Northwestern's Native American and Indigenous Initiatives website:

On November 29th, 1864, while John Evans was governor of Colorado and territorial superintendent of Indian Affairs, a Cheyenne and Arapaho village along Sand Creek in the Colorado Territory was attacked by United States soldiers. Around 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho people were killed, most of them women, children and elders.

The Sand Creek Massacre remains one of the worst atrocities committed by US soldiers in history and remains in the recent memory of Cheyenne and Arapaho people. As an institution founded by John Evans, it is within Northwestern University's obligation to assist the healing from these events.  Numerous events are held each year to learn about and learn from the Sand Creek Massacre, including a commemoration of the event held this year on November 16th.

Learn more about the tragedy of the Sand Creek Massacre and read first-hand accounts from U.S. soldiers, which helped lead to the establishment of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site.


Nov 17 - Books


For centuries, Native Americans have valued storytelling as a means to pass down knowledge from one generation to the next. Stories were used to weave together lessons, history, knowledge of the land, traditions, water, birds, and animals to ensure the continued survival of Indigenous culture and ways of being. This list includes a mixture of academic writings, fiction, non-fiction, essays, memoir, and poetry by some of the best Native American writers, thinkers, and storytellers. By no means exhaustive, this list is a great starting point for anyone looking to add some Indigenous perspectives to their lives and bookcases.[JG1] 

Quick Facts

  • Joy Harjo is the first Native American United States Poet Laureate (2019)
  • If you’re looking for a good choice for children’s books, check out the recommendations from Oyate. Oyate’s mission is to “review children’s literature and advocate for Native Americans/American Indians to be portrayed with historical accuracy, cultural appropriateness and without anti-Indian bias and stereotypes.
  • Birchbark Books is a great independently Native owned bookstore. Most of our recommendations have links to their website. Support Native-owned businesses.
  • N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn won the Pulitzer Prize in 1969

Highlights by Genre


Love Medicine, by Louise Erdrich

Set on and around a North Dakota reservation, Love Medicine, the first novel by National Book Award–winning author Louise Erdrich is the epic story about the intertwined fates of two families: the Kashpaws and the Lamartines. With astonishing virtuosity, each chapter draws on a range of voices to its tales. Black humor mingles with magic, injustice bleeds into betrayal, and through it all, bonds of love and family marry the elements into a tightly woven whole that pulses with the drama of life.


Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer

An inspired weaving of indigenous knowledge, plant science, and personal narrative from a distinguished professor of science and a Native American whose previous book, Gathering Moss, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing.


How We Became Human, by Joy Harjo

This collection gathers poems from throughout Joy Harjo's twenty-eight-year career, beginning in 1973 in the age marked by the takeover at Wounded Knee and the rejuvenation of indigenous cultures in the world through poetry and music. How We Became Human explores its title question in poems of sustaining grace.


Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education: Mapping the Long View, by Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Eve Tuck, K. Wayne Yang

Featuring original chapters by authors at the forefront of theorizing, practice, research, and activism, this volume helps define and imagine the exciting interstices between Indigenous and decolonizing studies and education. Each chapter forwards Indigenous principles - such as Land as literacy and water as life - that are grounded in place-specific efforts of creating Indigenous universities and schools, community organizing and social movements, trans and Two Spirit practices, refusals of state policies, and land-based and water-based pedagogies.


Hiawatha and The Peacemaker, by Robbie Robertson

Born of Mohawk and Cayuga descent, musical icon Robbie Robertson learned the story of Hiawatha and his spiritual guide, the Peacemaker, as part of the Iroquois oral tradition. Now he shares the same gift of storytelling with a new generation.

More Recommendations

Nov 18 - CNAIR Keynote

Jean O'Brien and Thomas Stubblefield:  Monuments of Omission—Erasure in the Memory Work of Indigenous Cultures and Contemporary Media
  • Time: 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM  
  • Where:Harris Hall, #108, 1881 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208
  • Cost: Free and public welcome!
  • Contact:Jill Mannor   847.467.3970

Group:Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities


Center for Native American and Indigenous (CNAIR)
Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA)


Fall keynote of the Kaplan Humanities Institute's Memorializing Dialogue:

Monuments of Omission: Erasure in the Memory Work of Indigenous Cultures and Contemporary Media

While absence, erasure and invisibility are often regarded as antithetical to memory, these tropes have proven integral to both theories of the monument and contemporary practices of memorialization. Stubblefield’s presentation will explore this counter-intuitive relation by considering the postwar “counter-monument” and its relation to a broader ecology of contemporary media. O'Brien’s presentation will consider the ways Indigenous public intellectuals engage with memorialization as counter-narrative, taking as a touchstone the upcoming 400th commemoration of Plymouth, Massachusetts through the Pokanoket sachem known as Massasoit.

Co-presented with the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research and Kaplan Humanities Institute. 

Jean M. O’Brien (citizen, White Earth Ojibwe Nation), Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Northrop Professor of History at the University of Minnesota and co-author with Lisa Blee of Monumental Mobility: The Memory Work of Massasoit (North Carolina, 2019).

in conversation with

Thomas Stubblefield, Associate Professor of Art History and Media Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and author of 9/11 and the Visual Culture of Disaster (Indiana University Press, 2014).


The 2019-2020 Humanities Dialogue: MEMORIALIZING

A year-long public conversation about commemorating, contesting, and claiming from humanistic perspectives.

  • What stories do monuments tell?
  • When is remembrance also a repression?
  • How does memorializing shape the present?
  • How do we negotiate collective and disputed memories?
Presented in partnership with multiple Northwestern departments and programs, the Memorializing Dialogue will include talks by distinguished scholars and artists from different disciplinary perspectives.

Nov 19 - Campus Walk

  • Location: Meet at Weber Arch
  • Time: 9:00AM – 9:45AM
  • Josh Honn

Join us once a week for a campus walk led by a Northwestern community member. These walks will aid in building our relationships with more than just our Northwestern human relatives.

Open to all students, faculty, staff and community members.


Nov 20 - Smudge Ceremony

  • Time:12:15pm –12:45pm
  • Multicultural Center, 1stFloor
  • Aaron Golding (Seneca Nation)

Smudging is the practice of burning sage and/or other medicines for cleansing, purifying and healing purposes. Join us once a week for a smudging ceremony led by a Northwestern community member. It is a chance to come together as a community to prepare for the week ahead.

Students, faculty and staff are all welcome to attend.

Nov 21 - Oral Storyteller

  • Time: 1:00pm – 2:30pm
  • UIC- Learning Sciences Research Institute

    • 1240 W. Harrison Street, Room 1535A

Join us this week for the seventh speaker event of the Indigenous Lecture and Writing Series, sponsored by Spencer Foundation and hosted by UIC’s Native American Support Program, Northwestern University’s Office of Institutional Diversity & Inclusion, and UIC’s Learning Sciences Research Institute.

The Series has one event each month, alternating between UIC and Northwestern, featuring distinguished Native speakers including researchers, writers, and storytellers from a wide range of genres, with a goal of developing new Native voices in research and public discourse.

This month, our featured speaker is Roger Fernandes. Roger is a member of Lower Elwha Band of the S’Klallam Indians from the Port Angeles area of the state of Washington. He is a storyteller, tribal historian and self-described urban Indian, born in Seattle, WA. Roger is involved in art organizations and initiatives by and for Native American artists and has a degree in Native American Studies from the Evergreen State College.

We hope you can join us!

Free and Open to the Public!

To find out more about the Series, please visit our website:

Nov 22 - Craft Circle

Weekly Craft Circle
  • Time: Noon – 2pm
  • Location: Multicultural Center, 1st Floor
  • Corn Husk Dolls with Aaron Golding (Seneca Nation)

Bring your lunch and creative energy and join us for weekly craft circles. Each week, a member of the Northwestern community will lead us in an art-making activity.

Nov 23 - Campus Art & Exhibits


There are some amazing museums around the world that highlight Indigenous communities and art, such as Onöhsagwë:de’ Cultural Center in New York, the Heard Museum in Arizona, and of course, the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. There are even some local museums such as the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston, the Trickster Art Gallery in Schaumburg, or the Field Museum in Chicago (where the Native American Hall is undergoing renovation as we speak!).

However, there are also several resources right here on Northwestern’s campus for opportunities to engage with learning about Native Peoples from past to present. Beyond formal exhibits, there are also little nuggets of Indigenous representation that can be found on the walls throughout campus. While some of the art is temporarily showcased, other exhibits are permanently displayed. Below you will find a list of some of the places you can visit throughout campus.

Key Facts

The University is undertaking several steps to promote learning about John Evans, his past and to work toward the present and future wellbeing of Cheyenne and Arapaho people and of the Native peoples on whose homelands the University sits. Evans, one of the co-founders of Northwestern and a long-time member of its Board of Trustees, served as Governor of Colorado Territories from 1862–65, a role that included acting as Superintendent of Indian Affairs.

It was during this time, that the bloody Sand Creek Massacre occurred in which scores of Cheyenne and Arapaho people, mostly women and children, were slaughtered by a volunteer army regiment. Northwestern University acknowledges this fact as well as the multi-generational trauma that the Sand Creek Massacre caused for Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples. A comprehensive exhibit about Evans and his role in the massacre will be created for display in the John Evans Center, the building located at the corner of Clark Street and Sheridan Road.


Indigenous Tour of Northwestern

Led by Dr. Patty Loew and a team of students and faculty, an Indigenous Tour of Northwestern was launched on October 14, Indigenous Peoples Day 2019. It is a virtual walking tour that facilitates learning about Native people, places, and initiatives that connect to Northwestern University including the first Native doctors and dentists, 1903 football game against the Carlisle Indian School, "Rights of Nature" and the food sovereignty movement. You can take this tour by downloading the app or visiting the Indigenous Tour of Northwestern weblink here.

More Recommendations

  • The James L. Allen Center (bonus: this is also a stop on the Indigenous Tour) houses one of the largest collections of Inuit art in the Midwest. If individuals or small groups would like to visit the Allen Center to view the art, they can make arrangements via e-mail with Gina Green, Program Manager and the Custodian of the art collection for Kellogg, at All visits are by appointment only and must be made in advance, on weekdays during normal business hours.
  • Rebecca Crown Center, West Tower, 1st Floor, has a temporary display of an eight-portrait collection of paintings by Chares King Bird. These portraits were included as lithographs in Thomas McKenney and James Hall’s three-volume series History of the Indian Tribes of North America, first published in 1837. King painted leaders from myriad Native Nations while they were in Washington DC on diplomatic missions to the United States. This collection is on loan from the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research and was originally donated by alumna LaVonne Brown Ruoff (SESP53, GSESP54, 66).
  • Women’s Center- 2nd Floor Library has framed prints of photos of women taken by Swinomish and Tulalip photographer Matika Wilbur. Learn more about using the Women's Center space for your meetings or gatherings.
  • The Block Museum- Tour their online collection of over 6,000 artworks.
  • The Multicultural Center, 1st floor, has a large framed print of the 1833 Treaty of Chicago and portraits of Pokagon Potawatomi chiefs

Nov 24 - Art

Contemporary Art

Spend the day immersing yourself in the work of a few brilliant contemporary Native American artists. These creating work that both pays homage to the long history of artwork in many Native American communities and disrupts settler expectations of what is considered Native American art. The Museum of Contemporary Native Artists (MoCNA) at the Institute of American Indian Arts is home to over 7,500 artworks created in 1962 or later. As MoCNA states on it’s website, they are “at the forefront of contemporary Native art presentation and strives to be flexible, foresighted and risk-taking in its exhibitions and programs.”

  • Kelly Church  (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians)
    • Kelly comes from an unbroken line of black ash basket makers, going back many generations. Her family harvests and processes all of our materials from the woods and forests of Michigan. She weaves with Black ash, White cedar, Birch bark, Sweetgrass, Basswood, and make Baskets, and Birch Bark Bitings from the Birch tree.
  • Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne, Arapaho)
    • Pratt, of Cheyenne and Arapaho affiliation, is considered one of the leading forensic artists in the United States. Harvey has completed thousands of witness description drawings and hundreds of soft tissue reconstructions, having spent more than 50 years in law enforcement. Just recently, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian announced that Pratt’s Warriors’ Circle of Honor was the winning design for the National Native American Veterans Memorial.
  • Teri Greeves (Kiowa)
    • Teri Greeves is a beadworker.  She’s been beading since she was about 8 years old. She is compelled to do it.  She has no choice in the matter.  She must express myself and my experience as a 21st Century Kiowa and she does it, like all those unknown artists before her, through beadwork.  And though her medium may be considered “craft” or “traditional”, her stories are from the same source as the voice running through the first Kiowa beadworker’s needles. It is the voice of her grandmothers.
  • Merritt Johnson (Mohawk, Blackfoot)
    • For over a decade her work has navigated the spaces between bodies and the body politic, land and cultures by making images and objects that connect, reflect and refract vision and experience. Her work responds to tongues and pens that cut the intersections of land, culture, sex, and body; she weaves together seen and unseen to build connection and vision. Her works expose the ways cultural blindness and deafness to connection breed fear and violence. She sews, casts, weaves, draws, beads, paints, carves, performs, films, and projects into and out of how we are. The multiplicity of materials and processes Johnson employs embody her multiplicity, exploring layering, allegiance and agency in the face of continued threats to land, water, culture, and bodies.  Johnson’s works are containers for story, feeling and thought: images of what cannot be seen, exercises for existence, and political bodies. Her work casts light and shadow on how and who we are, on how and who we could be.  
  • Wendy Red Starr (Apsáalooke)
    • Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialist structures, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her cultural heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.
  • Elisa Harkins (Cherokee, Muscogee)
    • Elisa Harkins is a Native American (Cherokee/Muscogee) artist and composer originally hailing from Miami, Oklahoma. Her work is concerned with translation, language preservation, and Indigenous musicology. Harkins uses the Muscogee and Cherokee languages, electronic music, sculpture, and the body as her tools. She has exhibited her work at The Broad Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, documenta 14, The Hammer Museum, MCA Chicago, MOCA North Miami, and Vancouver Art Gallery.
  • Chris Pappan (Osage, Kaw, Cheyenne River Lakota Sioux)
    • A Chicago based artist of Kaw, Osage, Cheyenne River Sioux heritage, he is a self described Native American Lowbrow artist. Currently his artwork is based on American Indian ledger drawings of the mid to late 19th Century while giving them a 21st Century twist. Chris has lived in Chicago for the past 20 yrs with his wife Debra Yepa-Pappan, and their daughter Ji Hae. Chris’ work is in the collections of the Field Museum in Chicago IL; National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.; The James T. Bialac Native American art collection at the Fred Jones Jr. museum of Art in Norman Oklahoma; The North America Native Museum in Zurich Switzerland; The Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence Kansas, as well as other public and private collections around the world.
  • Will Wilson (Dine´)
    • Will Wilson’s body of photographic work stimulates a critical dialogue and reflection around the historical and contemporary “photographic exchange” as it pertains to Native Americans.  His aim is to convene with and invite indigenous artists, arts professionals, and tribal governance to engage in the performative ritual that is the studio portrait.  This experience is intensified and refined by the use of large format (8x10) wet plate collodion studio photography. This beautifully alchemic photographic process dramatically contributed to the collective understanding of Native American people and, in so doing, an American identity.

More Artists

Nov 25 - Smudge Ceremony

  • Time: 12:15pm – 12:45pm
  • Multi-Belief Space
  • Jasmine Gurneau (Oneida/Menominee)

Smudging is the practice of burning sage and/or other medicines for cleansing, purifying and healing purposes. Join us once a week for a smudging ceremony led by a Northwestern community member. It is a chance to come together as a community to prepare for the week ahead. 

Students, faculty and staff are all welcome to attend.

Nov 26 - Campus Walk

  • Meet at Weber Arch
  • Time: 9:00AM – 9:45AM
  • Jennifer Michals (Citizen Band Potawatomi/LCO Ojibwe/Kickapoo)

Join us once a week for a campus walk led by a Northwestern community member. These walks will aid in building our relationships with more than just our Northwestern human relatives.

Open to all students, faculty, staff and community members.

Nov 27 - MMIWG2S Awareness


The National Inquiry into Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls 

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls epidemic (MMIWG) is an issue currently affecting Indigenous people in Canada and the United States. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was established in September 2016 in Canada. The final report was released on June 3, 2019.

Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI)

Here in the United States, the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI), a tribal epidemiology center, studied the number and dynamics of cases of missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls in cities across the United States.  This study sought to assess why obtaining data on this violence is so difficult, how law enforcement agencies are tracking and responding to these cases, and how media is reporting on them. The study’s intention was to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the MMIWG crisis in urban American Indian and Alaska Native communities and the institutional practices that allow them to disappear not once, but three times—in life, in the media, and in the data.  In 2019, the UIHI released a report MMIWG: We Demand More. It calls for government agencies to do better for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. View the MMIWG toolkit here.

National Day of Awareness for Missing & Murdered Native Women & Girls

The United States Congress declared May 5, as “National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls.” The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) The National Day of MMIWG awareness is designated on Hanna Harris’ birthday, a Northern Cheyenne member who was murdered in July 2013.


#MMIW, #MMIWG and #MMIWG2S has been increasingly proliferating the internet, both in the United States and abroad. The abbreviations stand for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women; Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; and Missing and Murdered Women, Girls and 2-Spirit People, respectively. These hashtags are one of the many ways in which Indigenous peoples have been raising awareness about the epidemic of extreme violence against their women and girls.

In May 2018, Senator Heidi Heitkamp released a social media guidance package to senators, advocates, and organizations to help get them engaged using hashtags #NotInvisible #MMIW #MMIWG

The REDress Project

The REDress Project, by artist Jaime Black (Metis), is a public art commemoration of the Aboriginal women known to be missing or murdered.  The installation consists of red dresses, which are placed to hang or flat in public spaces. Canadian Jaime Black (Métis) began the project in 2000. She told CTV News that "a friend of hers, who is also an aboriginal, explained that red was the only color spirits could see. 'So (red) is really a calling back of the spirits of these women and allowing them a chance to be among us and have their voices heard through their family members and community. It was shown at The National Museum of the American Indian March 2019.

Additional Resources

If you find yourself in need of emotional assistance, please call 1-844-413-6649.

It’s a national, toll-free, 24/7 support line that’s available to anyone requiring emotional assistance related to the subject of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Nov 28 - Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving can be a complicated time for Native Americans in this country. Celebrating with loved ones and offering thanks to the land, water, animals, and people that sustain our lives and home is a core value of many Native communities. However, Thanksgiving can place Native Americans in the past while not paying much consideration for contemporary Indigenous Peoples. School reenactments, arts and crafts projects, and false narratives can make this time triggering for Native Peoples.

 “Most texts and supplementary materials portray Native Americans at the gathering as supporting players. They are depicted as nameless, faceless, generic “Indians” who merely shared a meal with the intrepid Pilgrims. The real story is much deeper, richer, and more nuanced. The Indians in attendance, the Wampanoag, played a lead role in this historic encounter, and they had been essential to the survival of the colonists during the newcomers’ first year. The Wampanoag were a people with a sophisticated society who had occupied the region for thousands of years. They had their own government, their own religious and philosophical beliefs, their own knowledge system, and their own culture. They were also a people for whom giving thanks was a part of daily life.”[1]

 This year, in addition to giving thanks, spending time with family, eating turkey, and watching football, consider your relationships with the land, water animals, community, and your relationships with the people that have been here since time immemorial.

Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address

For many years, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) have been offering thanks to all of the more-than-human relatives that support our world. This address is offered before large events and social gatherings and is a way to remind us that we are but one of many on this planet. Thanks are given to the waters, the land, the plants, medicines, berries, strawberries, animals, the earth, thunders, four winds, and the Creator. This practice helps to remind the Haudenosaunee that our lives are entangled with every life on this world and that we need to be thankful and nurture those relationships.

National Day of Mourning

In, 1970 Wamasutta, also known as Frank James, was asked to deliver a speech to the descendants of Pilgrims during their annual Thanksgiving celebration. Wamasutta accepted and wrote a speech on the early encounters between Pilgrims and Wampanoag and the historical and continued oppression that resulted from those encounters. When they asked to see a draft of the speech prior to Wamasutta delivering it, the descendants were shocked. They expected as speech that celebrated and furthered the dominant narrative around Thanksgiving.

This was not the speech they were expecting to hear and they asked him to rewrite it. When Wamasutta refused, they rescinded their offer to have him speak. This resulted in Wamasutta declaring a National Day of Mourning and organizing a protest. The National Day of Mourning continues to take place on the 4th Thursday of November.

More Recommendations

Links to Resources


[1] American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution

Nov 29 - Sand Creek Massacre

On November 29th, 1864, while John Evans was governor of Colorado and territorial superintendent of Indian Affairs, a Cheyenne and Arapaho village along Sand Creek in the Colorado Territory was attacked by United States soldiers. Around 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho people were killed, most of them women, children and elders.

The Sand Creek Massacre remains one of the worst atrocities committed by US soldiers in history and remains in the recent memory of Cheyenne and Arapaho people. As an institution founded by John Evans, it is within Northwestern University's obligation to assist the healing from these events.  Numerous events are held each year to learn about and learn from the Sand Creek Massacre, including a commemoration of the event held this year on November 16th.

Learn more about the tragedy of the Sand Creek Massacre and read first-hand accounts from U.S. soldiers, which helped lead to the establishment of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site.

Nov 30 - Beyond Native American Heritage Month

In 1990, November was officially designated as “National American Indian Heritage Month” through a joint resolution approved by President George H. W. Bush. According to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Native American Heritage Month is “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 conquer these challenges.”

Northwestern’s Multicultural Student Affairs began celebrating Native American Heritage Month in 2015 through a variety of events, including guest speakers, panel discussions, films, social gatherings, theatrical performances and literary forums, just to name a few. This year, teamed with departments and units across the university to celebrate “30 Days of Indigenous”, Northwestern presented a month-long series of programming, educational offerings and invitations to deepen engagement and learning. The daily opportunities honored Indigenous history and past, celebrated their present and future, engaged the diversity and complexity of lived experiences within communities, and aimed to raise awareness and visibility for Native American and Indigenous communities across campus.

Ways to Engage

Here are a few ways you can continue to engage with the Native American and Indigenous community at Northwestern and beyond throughout the rest of the year: