November is officially Native American Heritage Month across the country, and the University of New Mexico campus community is celebrating the rich culture and history in its own unique way. 

Native American students at UNM are also finding ways to get involved. Andy Nez, Native American Studies student and president of Diné at UNM, participated in a Native Studies Symposium at Dilcon Community School in early-November. At the event, a panel comprised of Navajo youth spoke to their elders about the importance of preserving their language and culture, something that is equally important to Nez. 

“I think it is highly imperative that Native people, specifically youth, embrace their traditions and language. It is not just about knowing where we come from and our knowledge of language, but how peace, harmony, balance, wisdom and courage all tie into our everyday lives,” Nez said.

Also, the American Indian Business Association is holding its 2nd Annual Native Art Market at the University of New Mexico as part of its celebration of American Indian Heritage Month. The event will be held Nov. 13-14 in the SUB Ballroom from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Master artist demonstrators, storytellers, and Native American jewelry, pottery, and contemporary art - all Indian hand crafted/Indian handmade will be a part of the event.

On Saturday, Nov. 30, the UNM Men’s Basketball team will wear turquoise uniforms in its game against San Diego. New Mexico is one of four universities across the country who have partnered with Nike N7, a branch of the popular sports apparel retailer aimed at Native American and Aboriginal communities. Turquoise is a color symbolic of friendship and community in Native culture. Tipoff for the San Diego game is set for 1 p.m. at University Arena.

Native American Heritage Month became official in 1990 when President George H.W. Bush signed a bill into law confirming its creation. It aims to provide a platform for native people to share their culture, traditions, music, crafts, dance and ways and concepts of life.