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Celebrate Native American and Indigenous Heritage Month 
(November 1 - 30) 

“We Are Still Here”

Metropolitan State University of Denver resides on the ancestral lands of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Sioux, and Ute people, all of whom still are in an ongoing relationship with this land. One of the ways we fight the erasure of Indigenous peoples is by recognizing the history that brought settlers, whether voluntary or formerly enslaved, to occupy this land. Here, that history is the Colorado Gold Rush of 1858 and 1859, where settlements like Auraria and Denver as well as other land grabs for gold mining that devastated the land and interrupted Ute and Cheyenne ways of living. Over the course of the next 20 years and the next rushes to take silver from the ground, the Cheyenne and Ute were displaced from this area, their homeland. By knowing this history, we can better understand our place within it and seek to be in right relationship with the people who were here before us, and with the lands we, too, must steward in our work. 

In recognition of Native American and Indigenous Heritage Month in November, the Native Indigenous Student Alliance in partnership with locally based organizations, the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion, and Journey Through Our Heritage, will be hosting a variety of events to educate the campus on issues that are pertinent to the Native American and Indigenous communities. It is especially important to understand that Native American and Indigenous communities still exist and with your support, their voices can be centered and heard. Join us, to dispel preconceived notions of indigeneity, to better understand indigenous intersectional identities, and learn more about our achievements and affirming our identity. 

This year, the theme is, “We Are Still Here.” The Native Indigenous Student Alliance will bring honored guest speakers who will shed light on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn crisis, the evolution of language for Indigenous queer, trans, Two-Spirit, non-binary folx navigating the constellation of gender and sexuality, and Indigenous environmental activism as sacred spaces are being put in danger. The Native Indigenous Student Alliance is hopeful they will be heard and the issues they raise will gather support for their continued efforts 

Keep scrolling down to view all events for this month!

Open to the Auraria Campus and Community

We Are Not Costumes 

Friday, October 30th | 4:00 PM

Please join the Native Indigenous Student Alliance, with collaboration and support from the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion, Journey Through Our Heritage, the University of Denver Native Student Alliance, and the University of Colorado Denver Native Student Organization, in a conversation with Cali Wolf and Jordan Daniel on how difficult this time of year is for Native/Indigenous people. Join us as they discuss how Halloween costumes and cultural appropriation reinforce harmful racist stereotypes, and how the hyper sexualization of Native women with these costumes perpetuates the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn crisis.

Native American Woman wearing a shirt that says

Cali Wolf

Cali Wolf is an indigenous mother, author, and activist. She is the coordinating director for Native Women’s Wilderness and works in the Denver area as a board-certified emergency nurse. She is Sicangu Lakota and uses her platform to speak on reclaiming identity and spreading awareness for Native issues.
Native American Woman staring front face to the camara with a shirt that reads

Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel

Kul Wičasa Lakota, citizen of Kul Wicasa Oyate (Lower Brule Sioux Tribe) is involved in advocacy and grassroots organizations for anti-pipelines/climate justice efforts, change the name/not your mascot, epidemic and crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women, and native youth initiatives. Through her running platform, #RunningForJustice, she raises awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous relatives by dedicating the miles she runs to a missing or murdered Indigenous person.

Transient IndigExperiences: Contemporary Takes on Gender and Sexuality 

Thursday, November 5th | 5:00 PM 

Please join the Native Student Alliance, with collaboration and support from the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion, Brother To Brother, Sister Circles, and the Salazar Scholars, in a conversation with Charlie Amaya Scott (Navajo) and Joseph Hillaire (Lemmi) as they highlight the history of the Two-Spirit identity and share their personal experiences navigating the constellation of gender and sexuality.

Charlie Amaya Scott (Din’e)

Charlie Amaya Scott (Din’e) identifies as trans-femme, non-binary, and goes by they/her pronouns. They are a scholar, photographer, and educator from the central part of the Navajo Nation. Charlie recently earned an M.S. from the University of Rhode Island and is a doctoral student in higher education at the University of Denver starting fall 2019. IG: @dineaesthetics

Joseph Hillaire Jr (Lummi)

Joseph Hillaire Jr (Lummi) is a descendant of the Village of Hydaburg, Alaksa and identifies as Two-Spirit. Joseph is a scholar at the University of Alaska, studying Native American Studies and Languages. He is one of 17 scholars at the Haa Yoo Xatangi Deiyi: Our Language Pathways revitalizing the X_aad kil (Haida language). Immersed in his community, Joseph is dedicating his time an energy to learn and teach the Haida language for future generations.

Environmental Protectors in the Indigenous Southwest

Thursday, November 12th | 4:00 PM

Please join the Native Indigenous Student Alliance with collaboration and support from the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion, in a conversation with Diné scholars and media makers Angelo Baca and Teresa Montoya as they discuss their research and activism around environmental contamination and sacred sites protection in the Indigenous Southwest. Their dialogue will highlight their collaborative media work and reflections on their academic pathways in higher education.

Navajo/Hopi Angelo Baca is staring kindly into the camera and smiling with a blurry vision of trees in the background

Angelo Baca (Navajo/Hopi)

Baca is the Cultural Resources Coordinator at Utah Diné Bikéyah, received his M.A. from the Native Voices Program at the University of Washington, visiting lecturer at Brown University’s Ethnic Studies, and completing PhD in New York University’s Sociocultural Anthropology. He creates educational and collaborative films; most recent documentary, Shash Jaa': Bears Ears (2016) screened at the Margaret Mead Film Festival in New York City and at the Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival.

Teresa Montoya (Diné)

Social scientist, media maker, and educator with a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from New York University (filmmaking certificate in Culture and Media), curatorial experience, and Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago where she teaches courses in Native American and Indigenous Studies. Montoya focuses on legacies of environmental contamination in relation to tribal jurisdiction, regulatory politics, and public health on the Navajo Nation.

White Bison: Healing Community Through Tradition

Friday, November 13th | 11:00 AM

There is much to be said about how traditional healing practices, when introduced into mainstream healing programs, tremendously aid to the healing process of our communities.” Please join the MSU Denver Journey Through Our Heritage and the American Indigenous Business Leaders in a conversation with Carrie Howell as she discusses the healing practices in supporting our communities.

Blood Quantum Film Discussion 

Tuesday, November 17th | 5:00 PM

In celebration of Native American and Indigenous Heritage Month, please join the Native Indigenous Student Alliance (NISA) and The Gender Institute for Teaching and Advocacy (GITA) in a discussion about the Indigenous film, "Blood Quantum." Please register by Thursday, November 12th to receive the movie code. Upon receiving the code, you may watch the film at your own convenience and then join GITA and NISA for a discussion about the film on the 17th.

Understanding Critical Indigenous Studies

Friday, November 20th | 11:00 AM

Without new visions, we don’t know what to build, only what to knock down. We forget that making a revolution is not a series of clever maneuvers and tactics, but a process that can and must transform us.” Please join the MSU Denver Journey Through Our Heritage and the American Indigenous Business Leaders in a conversation with LeRoy Saiz as he discusses the importance of Critical Indigenous Studies.

Want to Learn More?

To build and strengthen ties to the Native and Indigenous communities within Denver, please visit and support the following organizations and resources below:

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