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Native American Heritage Month celebrates Native students, faculty and staff

This November, the University of Utah will celebrate Native American Heritage Month and the unique relationship the institution shares with the state’s eight tribal nations.

“Native Americans have been celebrating their heritage for hundreds of years through kinship, through their language, ceremony, dances and traditions that are carried on today,” said Tashina Barber, the U’s American Indian Resource Center program manager. “Native Heritage Month is a national platform that raises awareness about the unique challenges our native people have experienced in the present but also historically.”

Students, staff and faculty from the U’s American Indian Resource Center (AIRC) will join Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and the Utah Division of Indian Affairs in a kickoff on Nov. 1 from 11 to 1 p.m. in the Saltair Room in the Union Building. The formal recognition will include a proclamation reading, physical land acknowledgment unveiling, and wrap up with an Indigenous & Native American Leader Roundtable.

See below for other events throughout the month.

Native American Heritage Month events

American Indian High School Conference
Nov. 3 | 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Union Building
This event gives high school students the opportunity to experience and learn what it’s like being a college student. There are no limits to what our younger generation can achieve! This event is American Indian-centered and open to all students.

Click here for more info.

Warrior Lawyers: Defenders of Sacred Justice
Nov. 6 | 5:30 p.m.
S.J. Quinney College of Law
The Native American Law Students Association is hosting a film screening focusing on the stories of Native American Lawyers, tribal Judges and their colleagues who work with Native Nations, their citizens and mainstream institutions to achieve Sacred Justice at S.J. Quinney College of Law.

Garden Name Unveiling
Nov. 9 | 3:30-5 p.m.
S.J. Quinney College of Law, Room 6623
The AIRC’s Centering Indigenous Reciprocity, Culture, Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) program and the Sustainability Office’s Edible Campus Gardens collaborated to give the largest garden its first official and intentional name.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” Coffee Talk
Nov. 10 | 3-4 p.m.
American Indian Resource Center
Join AIRC students, staff and faculty to share thoughts about the new movie from Martin Scorsese.

Reframing the Conversation: Native Wisdom and Language in the Era of AI
Nov. 15 | 12-1 p.m.
Hinckley Caucus Room, 260 Central Campus Drive, Room 2018
This edition of Reframing the Conversation features a panel discussion on the various intersections that spring up between Native wisdom and language and the new technologies that involve artificial intelligence (AI) in the Hinckley Caucus Room, 260 Central Campus Drive, Room 2018.

Indigenous Traditional Medicine: Pathways to Healing
Nov. 16 | 5:30 p.m.
Eccles Health Sciences Education Building, (EHSEB) Alumni Hall
The Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine Office of Health Equity, Diversity is hosting an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to explore the time-honored healing practices of Native American traditional medicine and ways of being. Participants will have an opportunity to take home their own medicine bag.

Basic Needs Drive
Oct. 16 through Nov. 16 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
American Indian Resource Center, Black Cultural Center, Student Union Building
Donate teddy bears, diapers, toiletries and feminine hygiene products for women and children affected by domestic violence. All will be donated to Restoring Ancestral Winds (RAW) and teddy bears will be donated to the Teddy Bear Project.

Foster Care Indigenous Fashion Show
Nov. 18 | 1-2 p.m.
Union Theater
In partnership with fashion designer/artist Jessica Wiarda and AIRC, the event is open to the public and all foster families caring for Native children.

Exist, Express, Embrace: Beyond Indigenous Peoples Day Gallery Walk
Oct. 9 through Nov. 30
Union Lobby
This display seeks to create an immersive and educational experience that highlights the rich and diverse cultures of Indigenous communities through their art forms.
Click here for more info.

Indigenous Winter Arts Market
Dec. 2 | 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Dec. 3 | 12-6 p.m.
Union Ballrooms

Round Dance
Dec. 3 | 6-10 p.m.
Join the Native community in beautiful song and dance following the Indigenous Winter Arts Market.

This list of events will be updated as additional activities are finalized.

Learn more about the University of Utah’s relationship with the Ute Tribe and other federally recognized tribal nations here.

NAHM Planning Committee members include:

  • Tashina Barber, AIRC program manager
  • Samantha Eldridge, AIRC director
  • Hailee Roberts, AIRC program coordinator
  • Donna Eldridge, director of U of U Health Office of Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Ronee Wopsock, Ute Tribe
  • Rebecca Walsh, director of communications
  • Kyri Duncan, ITSA advisor and Native/Indigenous student engagement
  • Wallita Ranger, Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine pediatrics program coordinator
  • Jenna Murray, medical and doctoral student
  • Shenia Sellers, student affairs
  • Ronnie Pesetto, Salt Lake City Public Lands planner
  • Ashley Cleveland, Salt Lake City deputy director of community outreach
  • Pamela Bishop, University of Utah EDI director of marketing and communication
  • Maria Mullahi, University Advancement
  • Kaya Aman, EDI graphic designer
  • John Platt, EDI events
  • Alyssa Pretty On Top, AIRC work-study student


  • Jasen Lee communications manager, University of Utah Marketing & Communications/Equity, Diversity and Inclusion