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Metropolitan State celebrates Native American Heritage Month

By Josefina Landrieu
Posted November 10, 2021

Metropolitan State University invites you to celebrate Native American Heritage Month, which is observed during the month of November in the United States. For Native communities across the country, this month serves as an opportunity to share the contributions they have made throughout our history. As a university, we want to take a moment to honor and celebrate our Native students, faculty, staff, and community members.

U.S. Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland remarked, “Native Americans have overcome many hardships since the onset of colonization — genocide, forced relocation and assimilation — but we’re still here. Our cultures, languages, and traditions live on adding to the fabric of our country. As we celebrate the resilience of Native communities, we must work to ensure the federal government upholds tribal sovereignty and that we move toward a culture shift that learns from the dark pages of our history to build a more equitable and brighter future.”

Heritage month serves as an opportune time to educate our broader community about tribal nations, to raise awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced historically, in the present, and to recognize the ways in which citizens of tribal nations have worked to overcome these challenges. As a university, we listened to the recommendations made by our American Indian Advisory Council. These recommendations are intended to better serve Native students, staff, faculty, and our community partners. Below we would like to share current efforts related to these recommendations: 

  • The development and dissemination of a university-wide land acknowledgement statement and practice: To access the university’s land acknowledgement and related resources, please visit the My.Metro portal by clicking on this link.  They can be found under the Equity and Inclusion channel resources.  
  • Bringing back Native language courses to the university: Starting in Fall 2022, the university will begin offering Native language courses once again.  
  • Establishing a scholarship dedicated to serving Native students: We are seeking philanthropic support to provide scholarships and services to American Indian students and analyzing our budget to identify funding for ongoing financial support.    
  • We make use of campus facilities available at no charge to Native-led and Native serving organizations.   
  • Promoting baccalaureate degree completion for students at Minnesota’s tribal colleges, with which we have recently signed articulation agreements: Fond-du-Lac Tribal and Community College; Leech Lake Tribal College; Red Lake Nation College; and, White Earth Tribal and Community College. 
  • Supporting and growing Metro’s American Indian Advisory Council, the Native Circle space, and VOICES, the student organization. 
  • Building a deeply reciprocal relationship with the nearby Wakan Tipi Center, whose executive director is alumna Maggie Lorenz. 

 These actions represent just a small fraction of what we ought to do to continue supporting the Native communities’ whose lands we occupy and whose students we serve. We encourage each of you to participate in current events and continue learning about their past and present history.  

REAL TALK: The Role of Art and Artists in Resistance Movements 
Wednesday, Nov. 17, 3–4:30 p.m.
Featuring Mary Anne Quiroz, co-founder and director of Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center. Explore the role of art and artists in BIPOC resistance, sovereignty, and solidarity activism. Learn about the cultural expression at the heart of our movements, from music and poetry to street art, film, and protest imagery. The focus of this event is the Indigenous community. 

Article: After 184 years a home for Dakota people and culture return to wakan tipi
“This place is going to offer a healing salve for our people to put on those wounds of historical trauma. It will be a place where we can reconnect to our culture, our language and our ceremonies, and learn from our elders and our ancestors,” said Maggie Lorenz, executive director of the Lower Phalen Creek Project.