Celebrating Ancestry & Culture During Native American Heritage Month

Throughout the month of November, faculty, staff and students at Bemidji State University will join together to pay tribute to the robust ancestry and traditions of Native Americans during National Native American Heritage Month. Bemidji, named after the Ojibwe word meaning “lake that traverses another body of water,” is fortunate to experience a dynamic local culture and history, located between the three largest American Indian Nations in Minnesota – Leech Lake, Red Lake and White Earth.

Bemidji State is home to American Indian students from across Minnesota and its neighboring states, as well as from New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Canada and more. The month-long celebration is a time to recognize the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories of Native American people and to acknowledge the important contributions they have made and continue to make in our current world.

National Native American Heritage Month is also a time to educate others about the unique political distinction of tribal nations, to raise a general awareness about the challenges Native American people have faced, historically and presently, and the ways in which they have worked to conquer these challenges.


Ann Humphrey, assistant director of the American Indian Resource Center, ann.humphrey@bemidjistate.edu


Schedule of Events:

Now through Nov. 30

Big Read Program – “Bring Her Home: Stolen Daughters of Turtle Island” Exhibit
An initiative of the NEA in partnership with Arts Midwest, the Big Read project aims to broaden understanding of our world and our communities through the joy of sharing a good book. Themes of the exhibit directly relate to the Bemidji Area’s Big Read book choice, “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich. Location: Watermark Art Center, Bemidji. Free and open to the public.

Monday, Nov. 4

1–3 p.m. – Native American Heritage Month Speaker: Charles Grolla, Ojibwe Culture & Language
Charles Grolla is a local educator, currently working for the Cass Lake/Bena School district, who will be on campus to discuss Ojibwe culture and language. Location: American Indian Resource Center (AIRC), BSU campus. Free and open to the public.

Tuesday, Nov. 5

4–8 p.m. – Annual Feast for the Homeless & Families in Transition
The Bemidji State University Council of Indian Students (CIS) is hosting the annual Feast for the Homeless and Families in Transition. Location: AIRC, BSU campus. Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, Nov. 6

4 p.m. – Classroom Culture: Insights from the 2019 Native Studies Summer Workshop for Educators
Bemidji State University faculty and staff who attended the 2019 Native Studies Summer Workshop for Educators (NSSWE) and a panel of American Indian students will discuss classroom culture. Location: AIRC, BSU campus. Free and open to the public.

4:30–5:30 p.m. – Big Read Program Book Discussion
Bemidji State will host a book discussion surrounding “The Round House” by Louise Erdrich in conjunction with the NEA Big Read programming planned between Oct. 14 through Nov. 15. Location: A.C. Clark Library, BSU campus. Free and open to the public.

Friday, Nov. 8

3–5 p.m. – Byron Ninham, American Indian Athletes
Byron Ninham grew up with a basketball in his hand and is currently the principal of Nayahshing 6-12 school in Vineland, Minn. on the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe reservation. He will discuss how sports can shape the life of the American Indian athlete. Location: AIRC, BSU campus. Free and open to the public.

Tuesday, Nov. 12

9–4 p.m. – Indigenous Humor, Films and Media
The American Indian Resource Center will host conversations about Native American Heritage Month and indigenous humor in film and media. Location: AIRC, BSU campus. Free and open to the public.

5:30–7 p.m. – Big Read Program: Women in Politics Seminar
Bemidji State University President Faith C. Hensrud, Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht, Red Lake Tribal Treasurer Annette Johnson, Beltrami County Administrator Kay Mack, and Bemidji City Councilwoman Emile Rivera will discuss issues and contemporary topics relating to women in politics. Location: Bemidji Public Library. Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, November 13

6–7:30 p.m. – Honors Lecture Series: “Racial Disparities in Pre-Trial Risk for Cass County, MN. Implications for Greater Minnesota.”
This lecture is presented by Dr. Elizabeth Kujava, associate professor in Bemidji State’s Department of Criminal Justice. She will discuss racial disparities in risk designation and pre-trial outcomes revealed in her sabbatical research. Location: American Indian Resource Center, BSU campus. Free and open to the public.

Thursday, November 14

6 – 7 p.m. – Big Read Program Speaker: Mike Garbow
Mike Garbow, local attorney, will provide his perspective on tribal jurisdiction in reflection of the issues between different local, tribal and federal agencies presented in Louise Erdrich’s “The Round House.” Location: BSU campus, building TBD. Free and open to the public.

Friday, November 15

4–7 p.m. – Ron Wilson and DJ Mica Concert
The American Indian Resource Center will host touring hip hop artist Ron “Kaboose” Wilson and DJ Mica to share a dynamic concert and message of hope regardless of circumstances. Location: AIRC, BSU campus. Free and open to the public.

Friday, November 22

10–12 p.m. – Leslie Harper on Indigenous Food, Land, and Health
Academy Award winning Leslie Harper will discuss indigenous food, land and health. Location: AIRC, BSU campus. Free and open to the public.

MN State logoBemidji State University, located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling more than 5,100 students, Bemidji State offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. The university’s Shared Fundamental Values include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and international and multicultural understanding. For more, visit bemidjistate.edu or find us at BemidjiState on most of your favorite social media networks.