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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

The University of Utah is situated within a network of historical and contemporary relationships with Indigenous peoples. Given that the Salt Lake Valley has always been a gathering place for Indigenous peoples, we acknowledge that this land, which is named for the Ute Tribe, is the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute, and Ute Tribes and is a crossroad for Indigenous peoples. The University of Utah recognizes the enduring relationships between many Indigenous peoples and their traditional homelands. We are grateful for the territory upon which we gather today; we respect Utah’s Indigenous peoples, the original stewards of this land; and we value the sovereign relationships that exist between tribal governments, state governments, and the federal government. Today, approximately 60,000 American Indian and Alaskan Native peoples live in Utah. As a state institution, the University of Utah is committed to serving Native communities throughout Utah in partnership with Native Nations and our Urban Indian communities through research, education, and community outreach activities.

Indigenous representation

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


indigenizing 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 Ungatavinekentduncan (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

land back: a critical conversation about reconciliation

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

Visit our virtual Gallery walk!

virtual gallery stroll


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: 5/13/21