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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.

Panel will include Angela “Angel Heart” Taylor, Anthony Gonzales, Huma Dar (Skype), and Abed Ayoub (Skype). This panel will examine some of the overlapping misperceptions of both Indigenous and Muslim peoples.

Angela “Angel Heart” Taylor (Mexica Nation) is the Secretary/Public Relations Officer for Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSPRIT). As a member of SSPRIT, Angel Heart is currently working in her local community of Vallejo, California. She is participating in the founding of “Vallejo Multicultural Coalition” whose vision is to develop effective public resources for the entire community, while fostering diversity and diverse leadership as a valued community asset. She has assisted in decolonizing Vallejo High School Mascot (Apache) and is currently building a relationship with Vallejo City Unified School District in order to consult and educate in regards to offensive Native American mascots/imagery. Angel Heart is also working with and supporting the Carquinez Coalition to Change the Mascot, organized the Vallejo “Idle No More” gathering held at Unity Plaza and petitioned support for the arrival of the Longest Walk 4 in her local community. Angel Heart is a United States Army Veteran, Mother and Grandmother.

Anthony G. Gonzales is of the Comca'Ac nation (Sonora Mexico), born and raised in Fresno, California as a ChicanoAnthony Gonazles. He is a Vietnam veteran drafted and served during 1968-69. He is disabled, service connected. He has extensive experience as an Non-Government Organization (NGO) consultant, and liaison officer for the American Indian Movement in the United Nations since 1984. Currently he is the director with AIM-WEST, an inter-tribal human rights based organization in San Francisco.

He has been involved as an advocate in efforts to combat institutionalize racism in the USA for several decades involving other issues as well. Included with this for example, has been to challenge public schools and sports corporations that carry negative or racial images of Indigenous peoples and our culture in their sports for entertainment and for capital exploitation. He has come to realize that the international arena and the UN itself can be an important place where these types of issues can be discussed among nation/states, with the intentions to produce a keen awareness about sovereign rights, treaties, and human rights of Indigenous peoples which are being violated on a daily basis. The UN process, for example, begins with initiating studies to substantiate these claims before governments, coupled with international laws and standards to seek resolve to address racism such as in sports. More specific the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP) in article #8 specifically speaks to this concern. More recently, the California Legislature two weeks ago passed a resolution, with no opposition, recognizing that the National Football League (NFL) and more specific the Washington football team that carries a racist name and logo is considered a slur and are urgently called to consider change the name and mascot. Other NFL teams in California are also urged to encourage these teams with racial slurs to make the change and respect Indigenous peoples and not perpetuate racism.

This particular issue has been addressed for well over 50 years in the USA and now the momentum is high and intense where the majority of the public is now also calling for a change and to retire the racist mascot. It gained traction last October when President Obama said that if he was the owner of the Washington team he would make the change. This will be the bases of his discourse on Thursday at Mills College, including the organizing against the NFL Washington team when they play against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, November 23, 2014. I will encourage you all to stand up and join us in Santa Clara at Levi Stadium!

Huma Dar lectures in the Asian American and Asian Diasporas Studies (AAADS) Program of the Ethnic Studies Department, UC Berkeley. Dar's work is focused on the intersections and co-formations of race, religion, class, caste, gender, sexuality, and national politics of South Asia and South Asian diasporas, centered on intellectual and political activism for social justice and decolonial feminisms. Dar is a co-founder of the Townsend Center and Center for Race and Gender working group on Muslim Identities and Cultures at UC Berkeley, and is a feature writer at Pulse Media, a collaborative political, activist, and academic weblog.

Abed Ayoub is a distinguished attorney with many years of publicAbed Ayoud service. His commitment to the well-being of his clients has earned him national praise and accolades. With a focus on immigration law and policy, Abed has worked with many diverse communities and individuals. His personal approach to the law makes the complex immigration process very simple and stress-free. Abed is dedicated to ensuring that all immigrants are protected and informed with accurate information about their case.

Abed has experience in asylum law, family-based immigration, business/investment opportunities, and visa procedures. Abed has experience working directly with many government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), among others.

Dinner Honoring Native Heritage Month
5:00–7:00 pm, Wednesday, November 12, 2014
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 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 Standing on Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Tourists
7:00 pm, Wednesday, November 12, 2014, Student Union

standing on sacred groundCome to a film screening of Standing on Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Tourists. 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.

Film Screening "Reel Injun"
7:00 pm, Wednesday, November 19, 2014, Student Union

Reel InjunReel Injun is an entertaining and insightful look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema. Travelling through the heartland of America and into the Canadian North, Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond looks at how the myth of “the Injun” has influenced the world’s understanding–and misunderstanding–of Natives. With clips from hundreds of classic and recent films, and candid interviews with celebrated Native and non-Native directors, writers, actors, and activists including Clint Eastwood, Robbie Robertson, Graham Greene, Adam Beach, and Zacharias Kunuk, Reel Injun traces the evolution of cinema’s depiction of Native people from the silent film era to presesent day.

Reel Injun won the prestigious Canadian Gemini Award in 2010 in three categories and a Peabody Award in 2011.

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: 3/11/15