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Home > Academics > Undergraduate >
Ethnic Studies

Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month honors the Ohlone Chocheyno people whose village was located where Mills College now stands. We value and recognize the diversity of Indigenous peoples in the Americas and celebrate this month in memory of our ancestors and for the next seven generations.

Theme: "Who is Indigenous" All peoples are Indigenous to a particular space in the world. In the process of creating global communities, identities can become stereotyped, misunderstood, and to represent violent images. In 2014, Indigenous people from the Americas have our images sold as relics of a forlorn past or commodified as sports mascots. Rather than have our histories, cultures, and representations defined by others, we are asserting the right to our own images. Many of the images arise from spiritual places that we want to remain as sacred rather than profane.

Native American Heritage Walk
Available through November, Toyon Meadow

The Indigenous Women’s Alliance presents the Native Heritage Walk to honor notable Indigenous activists from around the world. We welcome dialogue about any of our honorees or the issues noted. As you enjoy our exhibit, please join us in acknowledging the Ohlone people, whose land we continue to occupy.

Native American Heritage Month Kick Off
12:00 pm, Tuesday, November 4, 2014, Adams Plaza

Join us as we Kick Off Native American Heritage Month!

Panel: "We Know Who We Are but Who Do you Think We Are?: Cultural Appropriation of Indigenous and Muslim Cultures."
7:00 pm, Thursday, November 6, 2014, Student Union

Indigenous cultures are commodified by social media, film portrayals, and sports mascots. None of these images represent who we are as contemporary Indigenous people with thriving cultures and languages. Film has been particularly remiss in creating and fostering images of "bloodthirsty savages" or images of the mystic warrior and Indian princess. Along the same line, sports mascots reduce Indigenous people to caricatures that negatively portray the dignity and diversity of over 500 nations.

Similarly, Muslim communities and particularly women have been vilified and represented as violent terrorists marked by distinct clothing or religious practices. Muslims derive from a large variety of cultures and the spiritual practices are peaceful and largely misunderstood. After 9/11, those images became more synonymous with terrorism without investigating the tenets of Islamic religious practices.

This panel will examine some of the overlapping misperceptions of both Indigenous and Muslim peoples.

Dinner Honoring Native Heritage Month
5:00–7:00 pm, Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Founders Hall

Come and enjoy the company of the Mills community and a mouth-watering Native American spread! Special entertainment provided by Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits drumming group!

Dinner Menu
Chicken Posoli (Made without gluten)

Coco-Bananas Quinoa Salad

Entrees and Sides:
Fry Bread
Butternut Squash Risotto with Spinach
Roasted Peewee Potatoes
Rainbow Chard
Smoked Bucket Chicken
Sweet Corn Balls
Stuffed Red Trout (Fresh Herbs and Wild Mushrooms)

Beverages and Desserts:
Watermelon and Berry Punch
Strawberry Crisp

This event is cosponsored by Bon Appetit.

Film Screening of "Pilgrims and Tourists"
7:00 pm, Wednesday, November 12, 2014, Student Union

Come to a film screening of Standing on Sacred Ground: Profit and Loss. The film shows Indigenous shamans resisting massive government projects that threaten the fragile balance of nature and culture. In the Russian Republic of Altai, traditional native people create and patrol their own mountain parks, trying to rein in tourism and reroute a pipeline to China planned by state-owned Gazprom. In northern California, Winnemem Wintu teenagers grind herbs on a sacred medicine rock their ancestors used for a thousand years, as elders protest U.S. government plans to enlarge Shasta Dam and forever submerge the touchstone of a tribe. Narrated by Graham Greene. Episode one of the four-film ''Standing on Sacred Ground'' series. With Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabeg), Oren Lyons (Onondaga), Barry Lopez and Satish Kumar. Narrated by Graham Greene, with cultural stories narrated by Tantoo Cardinal.

Christopher (Toby) McLeod circled the globe for five Christopher McLeodyears filming the Pilgrims and Tourists series. The four documentaries feature indigenous leaders taking stands for ecology and culture against government megaprojects, mining corporations, religious intolerance and climate change. McLeod founded the Sacred Land Film Project at Earth Island Institute in 1984 to make high-impact documentary films relevant to indigenous communities and modern audiences. Awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship for filmmaking and a Student Academy Award in 1983. McLeod holds a master’s degree from U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and a BA in American History from Yale.

Borderlands Panel: "The Medicine Line: Artificial Borders that Divide our Indigenous Communities."
7:00 pm, Wednesday, November 19, 2014, Student Union

In collaboration with Mujeres Unidas, this panel will examine the northern and southern borders of the United States. The southern border has increasingly become militarized and documented immigrants who cross that line as undesirables. The northern border has similar dimensions but they present in quite different and distinct ways. This panel will examine the ways in borders become contested territories.

Events are cosponsored by Ethnic Studies Department, Indigenous Women's Alliance, Associated Students of Mills College, and the Diversity and Social Justice Resource Center.

Mills College Heritage Months are supported in part by the Ethnic Studies Fund. To learn about and donate to the Fund, please click here: Ethnic Studies Fund. Many thanks for your generosity in support of Ethnic Studies and students of color at Mills.

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Last Updated: 10/22/14