Celebrate Native American History Month at UConn

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November is Native American History Month and University of Connecticut students will have plenty of opportunities to learn about the history and issues facing the Native American and Indigenous peoples of Connecticut. One organization that will be hosting a series of events throughout the month is UConn’s Native American Cultural Programs.  

“The events planned for Native and Indigenous Heritage Month are intended to honor and celebrate Indigenous peoples and cultures,” said Sage Phillips, a seventh-semester political science and human rights major with a minor in Native American and Indigenous studies, in an email. “Indigenous peoples in our community and across Turtle Island are doing incredible things creatively, academically, and socially. We are proud to showcase a small sliver of that greatness during this month.” 

One of the events that will be held by the NACP is a public talk with Dr. Susan Burch, author of the book “Committed: Remembering Kin In and Beyond Institutions.” The book covers the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians, a psychiatric hospital that treated hundreds of Native Americans between 1903 and 1934, many of whom were not mentally ill. The event will take place on Nov. 10.  

Another event held by NACP will be the keynote presentation, “The Beginning and End of Rape: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, a Conversation with Sarah Deer” on Nov. 18. Registration for this event will begin soon.    

Many of the events will be held virtually this November. Phillips said this decision was made to accommodate community members who do not live close enough to attend in-person events and to protect those who may be vulnerable to COVID-19.  

The Native American and Indigenous Student Association will also be hosting events throughout November. NAISO operates under NACP and is open to all students, whether they identify as Native and/or Indigenous or if they simply wish to learn more about Native American and Indigenous issues and traditions.  

NAISO recently held a discussion with Navajo artist Shonto Begay, who is currently fundraising to stop violence against Indigenous women and girls. Those looking to donate can visit NAISO’s Instagram page for more information.  

Students who want to do their own research on Native and Indigenous history have a few local resources available to them. The Indian and Colonial Research Center in Old Mystic, Connecticut is one resource open to the public. The Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center is another place students can visit to celebrate Native American History Month. The museum has many exhibitions, such as a recreation of a 16th century Pequot village and a 30-minute film dramatization of the 1637 Pequot War. 

Students looking to attend any of the Native American and Indigenous Heritage Month events can follow NACP’s and NAISO’s social media accounts for registration and further information.  

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