Native American Heritage Month Banner

November 2013

Native American Heritage Month is a celebration of the history, culture and traditions of Native Americans.  The celebration originally began in 1916 in New York State when it declared the first “American Indian Day.” On August 3, 1990 President George Bush declared the first National American Indian Heritage Month. 

The purpose of Native American Heritage Month is to honor and recognize the original peoples of this land.  At Grand Valley, we strive to provide an educational platform that addresses and celebrates the history of Native Americans through cultural events, speakers, art and music. 

2013 Native American Heritage Month 

Native American Student Association (NASA) Day of Service
Saturday, November 2
10 a.m.-noon
Indian Burial Grounds

Join us for a NASA-sponsored service project: helping to clean up the area surrounding the Hopewell burial mounds in Grand Rapids. NASA is working with the Grand Rapids Public Museum and local Native community members to ensure proper respect and honor is given during the project. History and background of the area will be shared. 
Space is limited.  Pre-Registration Required.  Please email Kristie Scanlon at to reserve your spot.  


Professional of Color Lecture Series: An Evening with Joy Harjo
Wednesday, November 6
4-5:30 p.m.
Cook DeWitt Auditorium
LIB 100 & LIB 201

Joy Harjo, member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation, is an internationally known poet, performer, writer and saxophone player. She published a memoir, "Crazy Brave," detailing her journey to becoming a poet. She also performs a one-woman show, "Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light," which premiered at the Wells Fargo Theater in Los Angeles in 2009. Harjo writes a column, “Comings and Goings,” for her tribal newspaper, the Muscogee Nation News. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Indian Schools:  The Survivor’s Story
Thursday, November 7
4-6 p.m.
Cook DeWitt Center
LIB 100 & LIB 201

The tragic history of Native Americans is considered by many to be an “American Holocaust.” This can be seen in the history of the boarding school era, when Native children were forcibly removed from their homes and placed into boarding schools. This documentary film shares the stories of Native American boarding school survivors and provides insight into the historical trauma from the era.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion, including Fay Givens, executive director of the American Indian Services; Kay McGowen, anthropology faculty member at Eastern Michigan University; and Warren Petoskey, artist and author of "Dancing My Dream." 

Traditional Native Art Celebration
Friday, November 15
Noon-2 p.m.
1240 Kirkhof Center

This event will highlight the rich culture and traditions of Native Americans. Local artists will be on hand to demonstrate their work as well as the teachings and spiritual beliefs they represent. Students will have the opportunity to engage in dialogue and gain hands-on experience in working with beading, jewelry making, basket weaving and hand drumming. 


Our Fires Still Burn
Tuesday, November 19
4-6 p.m.
Loosemore Auditorium, Pew Campus
LIB 100 & LIB 201

“Our Fires Still Burn,” a film directed and produced by Audrey Geyer, dispels the myth that American Indians have disappeared from United States, and reveals how they continue to persist, heal from the past and confront the challenges of today, while keeping their culture alive and making great contributions to society. Their experiences will deeply touch both Native Americans and non-Natives and help build bridges of understanding, respect and communication. 

The film will be followed by panel discussion with Geyer; Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief of Native News Network and film producer; and Scott Badenoch, president, Badenoch LLC.



Page last modified October 15, 2013