A ceremonial blessing, thought-provoking films and comedy routines and a cultural art unveiling are among the diverse array of events planned for November in celebration of Native American Heritage Month.
“We want to honor the rich traditions of our Native American students while also educating the Pacific community,” said Mario Enriquez, director for the Center for Identity and Inclusion. “It is important for our students to be exposed to diverse voices and have a deep understanding of cultural awareness.”
The signature event will be “An Evening with Rep. Christina Haswood,” Nov. 22 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the DeRosa University Center ballroom. Haswood, a member of the Navajo tribe, is one of the youngest members of the Kansas Legislature.
Haswood will share her thoughts as a young indigenous woman. Growing up, her family struggled with poverty after moving to Kansas from the Navajo reservation in Arizona looking for better opportunities.
She went on to attend Arizona State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Health and a master’s in Public Health Management from the University of Kansas Medical Center.
On Nov. 3, the Native American Student Services lounge will be blessed inside the new Center for Identity and Inclusion in McCaffrey Center at 5:30 p.m.
A Native American Heritage Month Cultural Exhibit will be unveiled Nov. 5 at the Native American Indian Center in Stockton from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. The gallery will include a mix of pieces from various artists and is open to the public.
On Nov. 10 students can view video clips from “Native American Comedy Slam” in the LGBTQ+ Resource Center inside the Center for Identity and Inclusion from 5 to 6 p.m. The stand-up acts address stereotypes through comedy.
Movies will be shown throughout the month including a screening of Dawnland Nov. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the main lounge of the Center for Identity and Inclusion.
The 2018 Emmy-winning documentary tells the story of Native American families in the United States whose children were systematically removed from their homes and placed with white foster families.
ASuop, Pacific’s governing student body, will continue its DEI Cinema Series with three movies: “Songs my Brothers Taught Me” Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. in the Long Theatre, “Beans” Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. in the Janet Leigh Theatre and “I Dream in Another Language” Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. in the Janet Leigh Theatre.
First-year student Caroline Rivera ’26, who is from the Sioux, Yakama and Cowlitz tribes, said the month holds significance for both Native American students and allies.
“It gives not only the university, but the community a chance to celebrate our rich and diverse culture,” Rivera said. “As a Native American student, I believe in highlighting my people’s culture, and the inequities/exclusivity Native American/indigenous students face is a crucial part of establishing our presence here at University of the Pacific.”