Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month is observed in November to call attention to the culture, traditions, and achievements of the nation's original inhabitants and their descendants. At UMass Amherst, we celebrate Native American Heritage Month from October 15–November 15 annually. The official designation of November as National Native American Heritage Month was signed into law in 1990. Learn more about Native American Heritage Month.

Join the conversation on social media by using #IndigenousHeritageMonth or #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth.Explore the stories in honor of Native American Heritage Month, but also find resources to learn about Indigenous history and heritage in national parks year-round.

Please explore these opportunities to learn, be inspired by, share, and celebrate Native American history, heritage, and culture. 

Josephine White Eagle Cultural Center (JWECC)

Josephine White Eagle Cultural Center is named in honor of Dr. Josephine White Eagle for her involvement in advocacy and mentorship of Native students on campus and someone who was involved in the early developments of a culture center for Native students. Its first home was in Knowlton Residence Hall and in 1993 was relocated to Chadbourne Residence Hall. 

The UMass Land Acknowledgement

In a year-long consultative and deeply collaborative process with respected advisors from local Tribal Nations, the UMass Native Advisory Council co-developed this campus Land Acknowledgement.

This Acknowledgement affirms our campus connection and relationship to the land the campus is built upon and our continued connection to the Nations who were the original inhabitants and caretakers of this land. 

The Land Acknowledgement also affirms our connection and responsibility to the 82 Native nations west of the Mississippi whose homelands were sold through the Morrill Act of 1862.

Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science

Supported by the National Science Foundation's Science and Technology Centers Program, the Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science (CBIKS) will examine how to effectively and ethically braid Western and Indigenous science research, education, and practice related to the urgent and interconnected challenges of climate change, cultural places, and food security.

Events Celebrating Native American History and Culture

See the upcoming events on campus that celebrate Native American History Month. These events are organized by the Josephine White Eagle Cultural Center, and include workshops on beading, moccasin making, lei-making. Other events include an intertribal social and a presentation and reading by Marianela Medrano, an Afro-Taina poet and a writer of non-fiction and fiction.

UMass Smudging Policy

Smudging is a practice common among Native and Indigenous communities that links smoke with spirituality. The tradition involves the burning of one or more botanicals gathered from the earth. Typically, tobacco, sage, cedar, and sweetgrass are considered the Four Sacred Medicines used in smudging. Along with creating a process for traditional and cultural practices, the Smudging Policy provides an opportunity for others to learn how to engage respectfully and better understand the spiritual aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

view of campus pond and library

UMass Native Advisory Council 

The Council regularly convenes to address topics related to the Native community at UMass, provide education and guidance on Native issues, foster mutual relationships with area Native Nations, and advise university leaders on matters related to positive campus climate for our Native community. Comprised of a circle of campus administrators, faculty, staff, and students, the Council represents a braided network of over thirteen different programs, departments, and resources.