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Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of the 574 Federally Recognized Tribal Nations and to acknowledge the important contributions of Indigenous peoples. Native American Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to overcome these challenges. 

Land Acknowledgment

We acknowledge that this land, which is named for the Ute Tribe, is the traditional and ancestral homeland of the Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute, and Ute Tribes. The University of Utah recognizes and respects the enduring relationship that exists between many Indigenous peoples and their traditional homelands. We respect the sovereign relationship between tribes, states, and the federal government, and we affirm the University of Utah’s commitment to a partnership with Native Nations and Urban Indian communities through research, education, and community outreach activities.

Visit the 2023 Virtual Gallery Walk

Exist, Express, Embrace - Beyond Indigenous People’s Day Gallery Walk


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This panel explores the reality of missing and murdered Indigenous people through an intersectional lens. The panelists bring in various experiences and expertise to inform a rich discussion about identity, representation, violence prevention and historical perspectives; and how intersecting social identities create different modes of discrimination and privilege.

Sponsors: Student Affairs | Student Development and Inclusion | Women’s Resource Center | School of Medicine Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion | McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention



Dena Ned Ph.D. (Chickasaw Nation) 

Dena Ned is an Associate Professor/Lecturer at the University of Utah College of Social Work. Her research has focused on the Indian Child Welfare Act, Title V of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, urban American-Indian health policies and delivery of care systems, as well as social determinants of health in native communities.  


Kola Shippentower-Thompson (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian) 

Kola Shippentower-Thompson is a pro-fighter and used her experience and training to create the Wisáwca Project, an initiative that helps people create their own personal safety plan to ensure they do everything in their power to make it home safe. 


Jordan Marie Daniel (Lakota) 

Jordan Marrie Daniel is the Founder & Executive Director of Rising Hearts; an Indigenous led grassroots group devoted to elevating Indigenous voices and promoting intersectional collaborative efforts across all movements of climate, racial, social, and economic justice. 


Chris Linder Ph.D. (she/her/hers) 

Chris Linder is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at the University of Utah, where her scholarship focuses on sexual violence and student activism. She also serves as the Special Assistant to the President for Violence Prevention and Education and directs the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention. 


Agnes Woodward (Plains Cree) 

Agnes Woodward is a wife, mother, owner/designer of ReeCreeations. With a focus on healing, Agnes designed a ribbon skirt that has been said to be an iconic symbol in the MMIWG2S movement; and most recently recognized for designing the ribbon skirt worn by Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, during her historic swearing-in ceremony.  


The Land Back movement is an effort by Indigenous people and allies to recognize the colonization of ancestral lands and erasure of Native and Indigenous culture. In higher education, it is acknowledging Native student experiences and their connection to land, language, and culture and removing institutional and social barriers while providing support and strategies for student success.

Moderator: Elizabeth Kronk Warner (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), Dean and Professor of Law, S.J. Quinney College of Law

Megan Red Shirt-Shaw (Oglala Lakota), Director of Native Student Services, University of South Dakota
Dr. Bryan Brayboy (Lumbee), Director for the Center for Indian Education, Arizona State University
Krystal Two Bulls (Oglala Lakota/Northern Cheyenne), Director of LANDBACK Campaign, NDN Collective
Dr. Gregory Smoak, Director of American West Center, University of Utah




Indigenizing University of Utah describes efforts to include Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing and being into spaces, programs, daily practices, and operations of the institution. This transforms the way Indigenous students see themselves represented and benefits all students, faculty, and staff.

Moderator: Lori K. McDonald, PhD, VP for Student Affairs

Bryan Hubain, PhD (he/him/his), AVP for Student Development and Inclusion/Tribal Liaison to the Ute Indian Tribe

Franci Taylor (Choctaw), Director for AIRC

Martha Macomber, Education Coordinator, Office of Engagement

Kyri Ungatavinekent Duncan (Ute Indian Tribe), University of Utah Alumni 2020, B.S. in Strategic Communications and a Minor in Multidisciplinary Design

Charles Denny (Northern Ute of the Whiteriver Band/Chippewa Cree of Rockyboy Montana), University of Utah Graduate Student in the College of Education

Jami Margaret Harvey (Diné), Co-President of the Inter-Tribal Student Association




In mainstream media and art, Indigenous peoples are often misrepresented due to lack of historical context and research. Indigenous artists and educators shared how they are challenging these stereotypes and changing the narrative by creating new spaces to represent themselves, take action and raise awareness about contemporary Native communities and issues.

Moderator: Angela Parker, PhD (Mandan, Hidatsa), University of Denver

Gregg Deal (Pyramid Lake Paiute), 
Joey Montoya (Lipan Apache), Urban Native Era
Viki Eagle (Sicangu Lakota/Japanese), Real Life Indian


Additional Resources

Illuminative toolkit

IllumiNative Toolkit

IllumiNative is a national, Native-led nonprofit committed to amplifying contemporary Native voices, stories and issues to advance justice, equity and social impact. In the Indigenous Peoples' Day toolkit, you will find case studies, key questions and answers, messages, a comprehensive how-to-guides on advocating to your representative and building a coalition, and more.



Native Places Atlas

Native Places is a spatial humanities project from the American West Center. It consists of an interactive, layered map centered on Utah that encompasses the homelands of the state’s traditionally associated tribes. The interactive map records and restores indigenous place names to major landscape features and selected historical and cultural sites in Utah.

interactive map


Native Knowledge 360°

Native Knowledge 360° (NK360°) provides educators and students with new perspectives on Native American history and cultures. NK360° provides educational materials, virtual student programs, and teacher training that incorporate Native narratives, more comprehensive histories, and accurate information to enlighten and inform teaching and learning about Native America.


Last Updated: 10/19/23