DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > DePaul to observe Native American Heritage Month with community event

DePaul to observe Native American Heritage Month with community event

Aerial view of DePaul campus
(DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, DePaul, where campus buildings stand on traditional Native lands, will host a Nov. 5 Native People's Heritage event and luncheon featuring artist, activist and writer Andrea Carlson as the keynote speaker.

The United States observes Native American Heritage Month each November to commemorate the achievements and contributions of indigenous people. DePaul's Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity regards events such as the heritage event as a way for the university to "celebrate the many contributions and achievements of Native Americans as well as their vast diversity of cultures and traditions."

Andrea Carlson
Andrea Carlson

Mark Turcotte, a senior lecturer in the Department of English and a Turtle Mountain Ojibwe, will introduce Carlson. Her Grand Portage Ojibwe heritage is central to her art, which has been presented across the United States and internationally.

The Nov. 5 gathering will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; it will be held in person at the Lincoln Park Student Center and shown online through Zoom. All are welcome to attend this community event, and advance registration is required.

This spring, DePaul adopted a land acknowledgement statement that recognizes "the enduring presence of Native peoples among our faculty, staff and student body." Provost Salma Ghanem formally presented the statement before the university at this year's Academic Convocation, held Sept. 2.

Turcotte calls the acknowledgement "one of many signals there is a new willingness to raise awareness of America's ongoing relationship to Native people and their lives."

"In just the past couple years, two of the most offensive professional sports mascots have finally been replaced; there are more and more Native filmmakers, musicians, artists and writers being given real access to resources for their work; we have our first Native Poet Laureate in Joy Harjo; and the first Native to be appointed U.S. Secretary of the Interior," Turcotte adds. "Native activists like Andrea Carlson are an important part of these recent changes."

Chicago has the sixth-largest population of Native Americans in the United States.

Scott Butterworth i​s an editor of Newsline.