The 11th Annual Veterans’ Powwow at the Fairfax campus. Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services/George Mason University

Mason Celebrates Native American Heritage Month


By Tisha Herrera, Staff Writer

National Native American Heritage Month is celebrated every November to honor indigenous people and their contributions, culture, legacy and success.

Mason students from the Native American and Indigenous Alliance (NAIA) organize annual events to commemorate Native American Heritage Month on campus, including traditional dances for the Veteran’s Powwow in previous years’ celebrations.

NAIA’s first event this year will take place Monday, Oct. 30 with a discussion of how Native Americans and indigenous communities are portrayed in media and popular culture. This event will take place in HUB room 2400 from 12-1 p.m.

NAIA and the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education (ODIME) will jointly host this year’s official opening ceremony. Titled Roots of Resistance, the event will go over the background of the month’s celebration with Joe “Anaya” Barrera, a Mescalera Apache elder who has worked with indigenous people throughout the Americas.

Anaya “has worked to bring the natural order back to people and communities displaced from the balance of nature,” according to Kylie Stamm, ODIME’s Assistant Director of Asian-Pacific Americans and Native Americans. Roots of Resistance will be held Wednesday, Nov. 1 in the Patriots Lounge of SUB 1 from 4-7 p.m.

NAIA will also host a Dia de los Muertos commemoration in North Plaza on Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. There will be a sage bundling ceremony in SUB 1, suite 2400 on Nov. 6 from 6-9 p.m.

Other events held during Native American Heritage Month will include a faculty lecture from Dr. C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa of Mason’s history department about reclaiming narratives of Pocahontas, Columbus and other historical figures and events like the first Thanksgiving. This lecture will take place Tuesday, Nov. 14 in HUB meeting rooms three and four from 7-8 p.m.

The month’s celebrations will end with a closing ceremony called “Celebrating Resistance: The Power of Our Roots” from 7 p.m. to midnight in Dewberry Hall. The event will feature food, conversation, dance and music performed by indigenous DJs.

Photo Courtesy of Mason Creative Services