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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: Indigenous peoples have existed for millennia on both sides of the medicine line or borders constructed by nation-states. Traditions, ceremonies, languages and sacred places do not acknowledge the artificial constructions that disrupt communities and their families. This month we celebrate the continuation of cultures and traditions that superseded national borders and honor those who fight for their sacred ceremonies and land bases.

Native American Heritage Walk
Native American Heritage WalkAvailable 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 3, 2015, Adams Plaza

Join us as we kick off Native American Heritage Month!

Dinner and Film Screening
6:00 pm, Wednesday, November 4, 2015, Faculty/Staff Lounge, Rothwell Center

Rhymes for Young GhoulsRhymes for Young Ghouls is a 2013 drama film set in 1976 about a rebellious native teenager learns the payoffs and perils of her family’s drug dealing business and dreams of one day leaving the reservation.

American Indian Film Festival
November 6–14, 2015, Embarcadero Theater, San Francisco
American Indian Film Festival Award Night, November 14, 2015. Tickets will be on sale October 1st.

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, the San Francisco based festival has become a trusted guide to contemporary American Indian life. A reliable, celebratory and empowering event, the Festival’s array of programs—films, workshops, receptions, awards show—work to replace stereotypes with authentic representations of Native traditions, history and present-day life.

AIFF40 showcases features, shorts, documentaries, animation, music videos and experimental works of American Indians by filmmakers all around the world. Voted as one of the “Best Native American Experience” by USA Today, the American Indian Film Festival is an event not to miss. Come and join us this year for the 40th Annual American Indian Film Festival, November 6–14, 2015 in San Francisco.

Dinner Honoring Native Heritage Month
5:00–7:00 pm, Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Founders Hall

BAAITSCome 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 Balla
Stuffed Red Trout (Fresh Herbs and Wild Mushrooms)

Beverages and Desserts:
Watermelon and Berry Punch
Strawberry Crisp

This event is cosponsored by Bon Appetit.

November 11, 2015, "Erasing the Borders: Indigenous Communitites Across the Medicine Lines."

Join us for presentations and critical analyses of the artificial construction of borders. The southern United States border is highly militarized and stigmatized creating dire situations for Latino and Indigenous peoples on both sides of the medicine line constructed by nation-states. Traditions, ceremonies, languages and sacred places do not acknowledge the artificial constructions that disrupt communities and their families.

Panel will include Sylvia McAdam, Valeska Castenada, and Xico Gonzalez.

Sylvia McAdam Sylvia McAdamis a co-founder of the international movement Idle No More, shares nêhiyaw (Cree) laws so generations of nêhiyaw and non-indigenous people may understand and live by them to revitalize Indigenous nationhood. It is McAdam’s dream, shared by many, that freedom, liberation, and self determination will lead Indigenous peoples away from the pain of genocide and colonialism. McAdam is a citizen of the nêhiyaw Nation, who holds a Juris Doctorate (LLB) from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor’s of Human Justice (BHJ) from the University of Regina.

Valeska Castenada Valeska Castenada is an immigrant who came here under asylum as a child, single mother, survivor of domestic abuse, survivor of sexual assault, survivor of child sexual abuse, and, above all, an advocate for human rights. In an era of violent and unjust mass deportation, incarceration, and criminalization of mothers and children at our southern border, Valeska was moved to take action. She poured her heart, spirit, and energy into organizing the Trail for Humanity, where communities journeyed more than 300 miles on foot for 26 days from Merced to the US Mexico Border. The Trail for Humanity protests the violence of immigration and detention regimes. Valeska believes that a true revolution cannot exist without the women at the forefront, and her work supports both the creation of space for women in organizing and the resistance of patriarchy and sexism.

Xico Gonzalez Xico Gonzalez is a professor, artist, poet, activist, and Chicano, located in Sacramento, CA. Xico has taught in a variety of settings—as a high school instructor at the Met Sacramento High School, as adjunct professor of Chicano Studies at UC Davis, and a teacher of many art forms for local community groups such as Sol Collective. Xico combines his passion for art and education in his curriculum, teaching the youth about social justice issues from 9th to 12th grade through mediums such as silk screen printing and community service. Xico has founded the first Chicano library in the Met's history and continues his activism in areas regarding immigration, land sovereignty rights, and more.

Aztec Dancers
November 18, 2015, 7:00 pm, Student Union

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: 11/2/15