The University of New Mexico is highlighting a wide range of educational, cultural, social, and topical events for this November, in honor of National Native American Heritage Month. 

 This month was signed into law by former President George H.W. Bush in 1990 as National American Indian Heritage Month. Other proclamations, including Native American Heritage Month and Alaska Native Heritage Month have been reissued every year since 1994. 

Each November, there’s an increased focus on the rich and diverse traditions and historic contributions of Native people.  November also sheds important light on the challenges Native communities still face.

With over 2,000 American Indian students on UNM’s campus, and over 228,000 Native American citizens in New Mexico, the struggles of access to clean water, close healthcare facilities, and the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People deserve special attention. 

UNM’s American Indian Student Services (AISS), Native American Studies, Center for Native American Health (CNAH), and other student and local organizations have worked together to invite the university and greater Albuquerque community to these discussions. Their goal is to offer learning and discoveries about the Indigenous perspective and experience. 

Here are some of the critical topics and events ahead:

Nov. 2-5
Indigenous Borderlands in North America Symposium
Location: National Hispanic Cultural Center

This symposium is meant to develop new borderland and border-crossing approaches to continental North America that center around Indigenous peoples, homelands, political concerns, and related dynamics. There will be speakers, workshops, and discussions for solutions. The event runs from 4 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.


Nov. 9
Inaugural Awards Ceremony Gala
Location: Hodgins Hall

Join the UNM Native American Alumni Chapter for its first ever ceremony gala honoring distinguished almuni. There will also be a keynote speaker, food, and live entertainment from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The special event will also be livestreamed through Facebook on the UNM Native Alumni's page. RSVP by Nov. 4 by clicking the link here.

Nov. 15

Wicazo Sa Review Lecture Series

Location: Physics & Astronomy and Interdisciplinary Science building (PAIS) 

The inaugural Wicazo Sa Review lecture series is related to the journal printed by the University of Minnesota Press since 1985. UNM English Professor Sarah Hernandez (Sicangu Lakota) will be the guest speaker for the hybrid event in room 1100 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Her research on early and contemporary Native American literature and literary criticism, with an emphasis on Oceti Sakowin (Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota) literatures, will guide a close reading of "Everything Originates from the Oral Traditions": A Close Reading of Cook-Lynn's Aurelia: A Crow Creek Trilogy. Register for the Zoom session here.

“The journal is devoted to the mission of assisting Indigenous peoples of the Americas in taking possession of their own intellectual and creative pursuits,” The Center for Regional Studies Director Lloyd Lee said. “The journal supports scholarship and creativity essential to the ongoing process of decolonization and to the survival of Indigenous peoples in the modern world.”


Nov. 15
"To Build a Home” 

Location: Center for Native American Health (CNAH) building

The Center for Native American Health is hosting a screening ofTo Build a Home'. The documentary takes a look at the red tape one has to overcome to build a home on the Navajo reservation. This will be from 5:30 to 7p.m. and is free. 


Nov. 16
The Reckoning: Native Crimes Victims & the Future of Tribal Communities

Location: Hodgin Hall

Hosted by the Institute of American Indian Research (iFAIR,) the community is invited to the Bobo room inside Hodgin Hall from 4 to 6 p.m. The Luci Tapahonso Distinguished Indigenous Speaker Event will feature Distinguisher Professor Sarah Deer, from the University of Kansas.


Nov. 17
“Diné/Navajo Stories about Death, the Afterlife, Grief and Renewal.”

Location: UNM School of Law

 Join prestigious Luce Fellow Steve Darden  (Diné/Navajo and Cheyenne) in a free lecture on the cycle of life and culture through Diné and Navajo storytelling and research. This will be in room 2401 from 4 to 6 p.m. with a reception to follow. The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission will be available to answer any questions regarding Navajo funerary practices. This event is hosted by a number of organizations including iFAIR and the UNM Navajo Language Program. 


Nov. 24
NHI 7th Annual Gratitude Run/Walk

Location: North Domingo Baca Park

Head out on Thanksgiving Day with the community for exercise and fundraising for Indigenous organizations and programs from 9 to 11:30 a.m.  The Native Health Initiative aims to raise  $50,000 this year. Walkers are also encouraged to bring new or gently used winter clothing and non-perishable food items to be donated to a community in need. You can register by clicking the link here.


Nov. 29
Native Food Night

Location: TBD

UNM Native students are invited to a potluck, hosted by AISS. Those attending are encouraged to share their favorite traditional dish or stop by and consume some tasty native food. This will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m.


Learn more about Native American Heritage Month and see a full calendar list of events by heading to American Indian Student Service’s website.


Founded in 1889, the University of New Mexico sits on the traditional homelands of the Pueblo of Sandia. The original peoples of New Mexico Pueblo, Navajo, and Apache since time immemorial, have deep connections to the land and have made significant contributions to the broader community statewide. We honor the land itself and those who remain stewards of this land throughout the generations and also acknowledge our committed relationship to Indigenous peoples. We gratefully recognize our history.

– UNM's Land Acknowledgment Statement