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Call it a hunch, but we’re thinking that there may be more non-Natives interested in what’s going on in Indian Country this month.  

Lucky for all, this weekend and next week in Indian Country, there are so many ways to celebrate Native American Heritage Month including powwows, festivals, special lectures and exhibitions celebrating Native artists. 

Here is Native News Online’s weekly round-up of arts, culture and entertainment offerings around Indian Country.

Native American Documentary Film Series: Pure Grit
Sunday, Nov. 13, 3:00 p.m.
Longmont, CO
 

“Pure Grit” chronicles three years in the life of a young Native American bareback horse racer, her dogged determination, and the relationships that sustain her. In the remote Wyoming wilderness of the Wind River reservation, Sharmaine and her girlfriend Savannah begin to build a life for themselves. They hope for better. But the atmosphere at home soon turns toxic, and the young lovers are forced to leave for the city. 

While the new environment brings freedom and opportunity, it also brings distractions and strains their fledgling relationship. When racing season starts up, Sharmaine and Savannah hit the road and put it all on the line. With a new horse from her city earnings, Sharmaine sees the potential for a fresh start. But life, like the race track, doesn’t always go according to plan.

Indian Alley: Pamela J. Peters on the Urban Migration of American Indians
Saturday, Nov. 12, 3–4:30 p.m.
Online

The multimedia work of Diné artist and documentarian Pamela J. Peters addresses the historical misrepresentation of Native Americans, seeking to correct and reframe the negative images and narratives perpetuated in the mainstream media, visual arts, and news. 

Peters confronts the complex relationship between Native Americans and the US government, exploring the history of coercive assimilation, displacement, and cultural erasure. In this program, Peters screens her short film Indian Alley (2021) to discuss the migration of American Indians to urban centers such as Los Angeles under the false promises of government relocation programs. She is joined in conversation by UCLA associate professor Kyle T. Mays as they deconstruct the impact of these laws and policies on Native identity.

MidWest SOARRING Powwow
Saturday, Nov 12 — Sunday, Nov 13
Wheaton, IL

Midwest SOARRING Foundation welcomes everyone to the festivities of their traditional intertribal powwows. The powwow opens each day with a grand entry led by veterans carrying flags and followed by all the dancers dressed in bright regalia characteristic to their specific dance.

Beyond the powwow arena is an array of vendors displaying and selling Native American arts and crafts. Native American tacos and other refreshments can be purchased. A children’s activity tent offers arts and crafts and the opportunity to flintknapp (make an arrowhead). 

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: The Sacred and the Profane, the Divine and the Witty
Monday, Nov. 14, 7–8:15 p.m.
Livingston, NJ

Celebrate the life and work of Native American artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, who was born in 1940 and raised on the Flathead Reservation in Montana. 

Speaker Janet Mandel will shed light on Smith’s luminous work that addresses the myths of her ancestors in the context of current issues facing Native Americans. Her inspiration also stems from the work of Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, and Robert Rauschenberg. She uses paint, collage, and found objects to produce both representational and abstract images. 

Smith has had more than eighty solo exhibits over the past thirty years, organized and curated scores of Native exhibitions, and lectured at almost 200 universities, museums, and conferences. Janet’s talk will reveal how Smith’s oeuvre creates a unique, intimate, and insightful visual language grounded in themes of personal and political identity.

Natives Dancing: The Presence, Practice, & Purpose of Dance in Native American Culture Today
Friday, Nov 11, Noon-1 p.m.
Columbia, SC or Online

In Native American cultures, dancing plays an important role in one’s identity, serving as a form of connection, personal expression, and representation. This lecture will discuss ways Native Americans are using concert dance and pan-Indian powwows to bring about remembrance and recognition of contemporary Native American culture.

Exhibition - Remembering the Future: 100 Years of Inspiring Art
Saturday, Nov. 12, 10 a.m. 
Phoenix, AZ

“Remembering the Future: 100 Years of Inspiring Art” will showcase paintings and sculptures produced by leading American Indian artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. 

Each work in the exhibition will be drawn from the Heard Museum’s permanent collection and will reflect an artistic response to the challenges and opportunities presented by the decade in which it was created. 

Select works include Oscar Howe’s response to the massacre at Wounded Knee in the painting Ghost Dance (1960), T.C. Cannon’s response to the Vietnam War in the lithograph On Drinkin’ Beer in Vietnam in 1967 (1971), and responses to environmental crises evident in Bob Haozous’ sculpture Ozone Madonna (1989) and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s painting Rain (1990).

Burpee Museum’s Native American Heritage Celebration
Saturday, Nov. 12, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Rockford, IL

Burpee Museum invites you to its celebration of Native American Heritage. In conjunction with the museum’s exhibition “Of This Place” — a collaborative effort between the Burpee Museum and Native American people from the Sac and Fox, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe Nations — the museum will have special guests, learning and interactive stations, and opportunities to grow as a collaborative community.

The museum’s celebration features contemporary and traditional artworks and opportunities to learn about the histories of the represented Nations from their own cultural educators and artists.

Native American Conversations
Thursday, Nov 17, 6:30 p.m.
Worth, IL

Joseph Standing Bear of the Midwest SOARRING Foundation will be at the library to talk about Native American history in the region, as well as current issues facing tribes and Native American citizens. 

Thanksgiving from a Native American Perspective 
Tuesday, Nov 15, Noon-1 p.m.
Online

Many people wonder if Native Americans even celebrate Thanksgiving. Dr. Browning Neddeau will address this question and more. 

Dr. Neddeau is enrolled in the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. He joined the CSU Chico faculty in 2019, jointly appointed in the School of Education and Department of Multicultural and Gender Studies. He serves as the Associate Director for the Northeastern California Preparation and Retention of Indian Educators (NorCAL PRIE) grant program. Additionally, Dr. Neddeau holds a position on the National Advisory Council for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE).

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Native American History and Culture 
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 7. p.m.
Online

Journey with Ojibwa author and speaker Kim Sigafus through a typical day in the life of a Native American in the early 1800s. Learn about the history of Illinois tribes, including the Trail of Tears. Native gardening, harvest, music, and culture will also be highlighted. Provided in partnership with the Wheaton Community Relations Commission and Wheaton League of Women Voters.

Autumn Dance Celebration
Sunday, Nov. 13, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Queens, NY

Autumn Dance Celebration showcases a variety of Native American dances outdoors at Queens Farm performed by representatives of ten Indian Nations. The dancers will perform in full regalia and each dance’s origins will be explained. This event also features a Native American Craft & Food Market with authentic art, jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and more.

In autumn, the bountiful summer harvest is celebrated, and thanks are given through song and dance, reflecting reverence and appreciation for the wonderful things we find in nature.

Artist Talk, Painting Demonstration with Tom Farris
Tuesday, Nov 15, 5:30 p.m.
Online

Artist Tom Farris (Otoe-Missouria-Cherokee) presents a live painting demonstration and discussion of his work from the “Humor, Parody, and Satire II: Popular Culture and Native American Art” exhibit on display now in the Center’s galleries. This virtual talk is held in conjunction with the 17th Annual Native American Studies Celebration.

14th Annual Native Rhythms Festival
Friday, Nov 11 — Sunday, Nov 13
Merritt Island, FL

The 14th Annual Native Rhythms Festival is a three-day family-friendly event that celebrates and honors Native American Heritage Month with cultural programs featuring award-winning performers, artists and educators providing concerts, exhibitions, and workshops.

Friends Lecture: Pat Pruitt 
Tuesday, Nov 15, 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m.
Online

Pat Pruitt is a contemporary artist who is known for his cutting-edge work that uses innovative materials, design, and fabrication techniques. Pruitt’s Native American heritage inspires his jewelry, but he gives every design a modern and industrial edge. He has won Best of Show at SWAIA Indian Market and has also received first and second-place awards at the SWAIA Market and Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market.

Native American Dance & Music with Derrick Suwaima Davis and Ryon Polyquaptewa
Monday, Nov. 14, 4 - 5 p.m. 
Bunkerville, NV

Dance has been the defining element of Derrick Suwaima Davis’ life. A master at maneuvering five rattan hoops around his body, he is the only adult Seven Time Hoop Dance World Champion. He conveys the Hopi story of creation through his hoops - creating intricate patterns while keeping time to the singing and drumming of Ryon Polyquaptewa. Join us as Derrick (Hopi/Choctaw) and Ryon (Hopi) return to celebrate Native American Heritage Month, share their culture, and demonstrate why Derrick is a world-championship hoop dancer in this program for all ages.

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You’re reading the first draft of history. 

November is  Native American Heritage Month in the United States. We feel like every month — and every day — is a reason for celebrating Native Americans and our heritage. That’s what we try to do here at Native News Online, with stories each day that celebrate, inform and uplift American Indian and Alaska Native people. Over the past year or so, we have been especially busy with three important reporting projects that are having an impact across Indian Country:

  • Indian Boarding Schools. We’ve reported and published more than 150 stories and special live stream video events to help shine a light on the dark era of boarding schools — and help create momentum for change.
  • Native Health Desk. Launched in January, this reporting initiative was created to heighten awareness of Native American health inequities and spotlight pockets of progress in Indian Country. So far we’ve reported and published nearly 120 stories and launched a monthly health newsletter that reaches more than 23,000 readers.  
  • Native Bidaske. In March, we launched this live stream interview program to highlight the work of Native Americans who are making news and leading change in Indian Country.  We have hosted guests from the federal government and Native rights advocates as well as Indigenous actors, comedians, journalists and models.   

We hope you will join us in celebrating Native American heritage and history this November and invite you to consider the old adage that “Journalism is the first draft of history.” If you appreciate the voice Native News Online gives to Native American people, we hope you will support our work with a donation so we can build our newsroom and continue to amplify Native voices and Native perspectives.

Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

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