News & Events


logo for indigenous peoples student association

Celebrating National Native American Heritage Month at Penn State

Posted on November 3, 2021

This story originally published on Penn State News

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State student organizations and units at campuses across the commonwealth will be holding events in honor of National Native American Heritage Month, celebrated during the month of November. Here’s a look at some of the events taking place at the University’s campuses. Please check back, as additional events may be added throughout the month.

According to the Library of Congress Native American Heritage Month website, Native American Heritage Month, also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, celebrates the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories of the Native people and recognizes the significant contributions of the first Americans.

This recognition began as American Indian Day on the second Saturday of each May. The day was established through a proclamation by the Congress of the American Indian Association’s president on September 28, 1915, and was the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens. In 1990, then-U.S. President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.”

Acknowledgement of Land

This past summer, in collaboration with the Indigenous Peoples Student Association (IPSA) and the Indigenous Faculty and Staff Alliance (IFSA), Penn State’s Office of Educational Equity and Office of the President developed a land acknowledgement, a formal, institutional statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous peoples as the original stewards of this land and the enduring relationship between Indigenous peoples and their historic territories, which reads:

The Pennsylvania State University campuses are located on the original homelands of the Erie, Haudenosaunee (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, and Tuscarora), Lenape (Delaware Nation, Delaware Tribe, Stockbridge-Munsee), Shawnee (Absentee, Eastern, and Oklahoma), Susquehannock, and Wahzhazhe (Osage) Nations. As a land grant institution, we acknowledge and honor the traditional caretakers of these lands and strive to understand and model their responsible stewardship. We also acknowledge the longer history of these lands and our place in that history.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Student Association is a community of Indigenous students, allies, faculty, and staff at Penn State dedicated to fostering Indigenous student academic success on campus through advancement, promotion, retention, and social activities. IPSA also seeks to meet the needs of the greater Indigenous community by supporting on-campus initiatives related to issues in the American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Pacific Islander communities. For more information check out IPSA on Facebook or email


Centre Film Festival presents “Beans” — Nov. 1-7, online on-demand — The Sustainability Institute at Penn State partnered with the Bellisario College of Communications’ Centre Film Festival to present the film “Beans,” a coming-of-age story of a Mohawk girl set against the Oka Crisis in Canada in 1990 when Mohawk Nation members clashed with Canadian police over a golf course development planned atop sacred indigenous burial grounds. The film is directed by Indigenous filmmaker Tracey Deer and is available to view online on-demand from Nov. 1 to 7, for students, faculty and staff at all Penn State campuses. Learn more about the Centre Film Festival and the movie at and The film screening is free to all participants.

“Food Sovereignty Display and Book Recommendations” — Nov. 1-30 — College of Engineering Library, 3rd Floor Hammond Building

Film Screening: “Sisters Rising” (2020, 59 min.) — Nov. 1-7 — available online on-demand at

Film Screening: “Home From School: The Children of Carlisle” (2021, 60 min.) — Tuesday, Nov.  2, at 7 p.m., State Theatre, 130 W. College Avenue, State College. At 8 p.m. a panel discussion will be held with John Sanchez, Apache, College of Communications; Patrick Littlewolf Brooks, Tuscarora; Julia White Bull, Standing Rock Lakota; Jim Fox, Wikwemikong Unceded First Nations; and Geoff O’Gara. Link:

Webinar: “New Deals: The Legacies of Colonialism in Infrastructure Development” — Friday, Nov. 5, at 4 p.m. With Andrew Curley, Diné, University of Arizona. Link:

Acknowledgement of Land at Penn State University — Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. — Panel discussion with students, staff and faculty from the Indigenous Peoples’ Student Association (IPSA) and the Indigenous Faculty and Staff Alliance (IFSA). Link:

Presentation: “How to Become a Good Ally to Indigenous Peoples” — Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. — Paul Guernsey, Lafayette College; Wayne Wapeemukwa, Métis, Department of Philosophy; Hollie Kulago, Diné, College of Education; Georgia C. Ennis, Center for Humanities and Information; and Nicole Peterson, Menominee, College of Nursing. Link:

Film Screening: “Searching for Sequoyah” (2021, 57 min.) — Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m.; 7 p.m. Panel Discussion — Panel will include: Julie Reed, Cherokee, associate professor, Department History; Joshua B. Nelson, Cherokee, University of Oklahoma; LeAnne Howe, Choctaw, University of Georgia; and Tracy Peterson, Diné, College of Engineering. Link:

Film Screening: “100 Years: One Woman’s Fight for Justice” (2018, 75 min.) — Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m.; 7:20 p.m. Panel Discussion — Panel will include: Tracy Peterson, Diné, College of Engineering; Hollie KuIago, Diné, College of Education; and Nicole Peterson, Menominee, College of Nursing. Registration link:

Presentation: “The Hunt for Red Pedagogy” — Thursday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. — with Cornel Pewewardy, Comanche and Kiowa, professor emeritus, Portland State University. Registration link:


Diversity Discussion: “History and Meaning of Dreamcatchers” — Monday, Nov. 8, 12:15-1:15 p.m., Library Classroom on campus.

Larry Yazzie performance — Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m., Auditorium — Larry Yazzie performs flamboyant movements passed down by his ancestors through Native American song and dance. A charismatic performing artist from the Meskwaki Settlement in Iowa, Yazzie has been dancing since he was 7 years old. His mission is to educate, inspire, motivate and empower diverse communities to bridge cultural gaps through Indigenous traditions.


Larry Yazzie performance — Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 12:15 p.m., Community Center, Maggie Hardy Auditorium — Experience the artistry of Larry Yazzie (Meskwaki) as he performs movements passed down by his ancestors through song and dance. From the Meskwaki Settlement in Iowa, Yazzie’s mission is to educate, inspire, motivate and empower diverse communities to bridge cultural gaps through Indigenous traditions. This free event is open to Fayette students and staff.


Stream and Discuss: “National Archive Museum’s Indigenous Figures” presentation by Adrienne Keene — Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — A Zoom link will be sent out closer to the date of the program to the campus community.

“Can We Talk? The Truth Behind Thanksgiving” — Thursday, Nov. 18, at 3-4 p.m., Butler TLRC Upper Lobby — Join us for a conversation on the history behind Thanksgiving guided by the Penn State Hazleton LOFT, the campus’ diversity and inclusion space.


Related Posts