Indigenous Students Honor National Native American Heritage Month
ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 14, 2023) — National Native American Heritage Month is celebrated every November in the United States. The commemoration officially began in 1990 when Congress passed a joint resolution designating the month as a time to celebrate and educate people on the history, culture and contributions of Indigenous peoples in America.
Johans Severino, a senior communication major and intern in the Office of Communications and Marketing, recently photographed members of the Indigenous Student Association at UAlbany's Parker Pond and spoke to them about what this month means to them.
The University Council passed a resolution in May renaming the roughly five-acre area in the southeast corner of the Uptown Campus after the Parker family, which included three siblings from the same Tonawanda Seneca family who were among the first nine Indigenous students to enroll at the University around 1850.
— Photos by Johans Severino
"National Native American Heritage Month is important to celebrate because it is a time to acknowledge the impact that Indigenous communities have had on society. I became a member of ISA because it was hard coming to a school with such a small Indigenous student population, so this was my opportunity to connect with the ones that were here. I would like others that are not of this heritage to know that we are not fragments of the past, we are strong and resilient and are still here today. I encourage everyone to visit our National Native American Heritage Month toolkit and come to our events."
"National Native American Heritage Month is important to celebrate because our cultures are not accurately portrayed in history or media. This month gives Indigenous people the platform to share and celebrate our cultures the true way. One way for someone to become more educated on our heritage is to listen to Indigenous Peoples voices. Read sources by Native authors, go to cultural events and support Native issues. I want people that are not of Indigenous heritage to know that our cultures are rich and continue to grow. We were not left in the past like history makes it seem."
"National Native American Heritage Month is important to me because it helps educate others on the history of Indigenous people. One of the reasons that I joined Indigenous Student Association is because we hold several events to help people learn about our heritage. For example, I want people to know more about our great traditional food and the history behind it. Meeting people who are Natives themselves and getting to know their experiences is a great way to learn more about Native American heritage."