Native American Heritage Month
November is Native American Heritage Month, a time that we collectively, as a nation, and as a campus, celebrate the myriad of histories, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous Peoples. At Cal Poly, we acknowledge that the land on which our university sits carries the heritage of the Indigenous People of San Luis Obispo County and Region, the yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini, Northern Chumash Tribe.
Among the events showcased at the National Native American Heritage Month website is an art collection entitled, “The Land Carries Our Ancestors.” The idea of “land” in that title goes far beyond its typical use as a reference to place and is even more than a symbol or representation. The use “Land” here, seems to transform it into a repository that reveals history’s power in the present, and as a transmitter, a storyteller, rich with culture and identity.
This month, like every month, is an opportunity for us to learn from and about the cultures, histories, and stories interwoven into the lands we live on. Find out more about Native American Heritage Month (NAHM) from the Smithsonian and join in on Student Diversity & Belonging's campus events including NAHM Keynote Speaker Deborah Miranda, Native writer, poet and author of “Bad Indians: a Tribal Memoir” on Tuesday, November 7 from 5 to 7 pm in Chumash Auditorium, and the State of Indigeneity on Tuesday, November 14 from 5 to 7 pm in Chumash Auditorium.
And as Deborah Miranda reminds us,
“Culture is ultimately lost when we stop telling the stories of who we are, where we have been, how we arrived here, what we once knew, what we wish we knew; when we stop our retelling of the past, [and] our imagining of our future...Culture is lost when we neglect to tell our stories, when we forget the power and craft of storytelling.”
Dr. Denise Isom
Interim Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion / Chief Diversity Officer