Bold waves of color entwined in a Native American design of bright red, turquoise blue and black.

Native American
Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month is celebrated each year in the month of November. At Western, it's a time of celebration and recognition — of the rich cultures and traditions of our Native and Indigenous communities —but also one of learning, reflection and dialogue.

During Native American Heritage Month and every month, WWU is committed to seeking out and encouraging Native histories and knowledge; to being purposeful and proactive in our inclusion of Native voices and knowledge; and to discover new ways to inspire and promote a new generation of Native intellectual change agents.

We invite all of our community to take part in a host of opportunities in support of Native and Indigenous learning and advancement, from Native lectures and dialogues to sporting events and film screenings. We hope to see you at these events, but our work won't end there. WWU will continue to invest its time, energy, and resources into supporting our Native populations, both here at Western and in the community over the long-term.

Laural Ballew-Ses yehomia/tsi kuts bat soot, American Indian/Alaska Native and First Nations Relations Executive Director and Tribal Liaison, Western Washington University

Amy Salinas Westmoreland, Director of Multicultural Student Services, Western Washington University

A conversation with WWU's Tribal Liaison Laural Ballew

Laural Ballew-Ses yehomia/tsi kuts bat soot, WWU’s Tribal Liaison, shares thoughts and insights on what this season means to her as a person of Native descent and how universities and tribes can constructively work toward a rewarding and collaborative future for their communities. 

Read the full conversation

Laural Ballew wearing a teal blazer over a yellow blouse and a green beaded necklace. She is smiling.

Schedule of 2022 Events

Tuesday, November 1 Staff Picks Library Display

Hacherl Research and Writing Studio, Haggard Hall.

Starting November 1st, enjoy a display of staff picks featuring Native and Indigenous authors near the Hacherl Research and Writing Studio in the Haggard Hall.

Wednesday, November 2 at Noon MCC Lunch & Learn hosted by Dr. Brandon Joseph

MCC Multiuse Room (VU 735)

Join us to discuss the use of Native American mascots and imagery in sports as we unpack the history and recent evolution of this controversial conversation. Free lunch and refreshments provided.

Tuesday, November 8 at 3 p.m. MCC Educational Session with Dr. Anna Lees

MCC Multiuse Room, VU 735

Join our discussion led by Dr. Anna Lees where she will discuss Indigenous community-based research Indigenous Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics; Indigenous language and culture in early learning; and her recent book Unsettling Settler-Colonial Education. Refreshments provided. 

Wednesday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m. “The Healing Heart of the First People of this Land” by Canadian composer Bruce Ruddell 

Performing Arts Center, 155 Concert Hall

Free to all with live stream available. (Pre-concert panel discussion at 6:30 p.m.)

Wednesday, November 16 at 12 p.m. MCC Lunch & Learn, hosted by Dr. Natalie Welch

VU 565A

Join us for our educational session: “Matrilineal Tradition & Modern Cherokee Women in Sport.” In this session, Dr. Natalie Welch will discuss her background working in sports, including her time with Nike N7. She will also show her film, She Carries On about Cherokee women playing stickball. Free lunch and refreshments provided.

Join us virtually on Zoom.

Monday, November 21; 10am MMIW Discussion

MCC Multiuse Room (VU 735)

Join us for a discussion about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women with presenter Theresa Sheldon, Director of Policy and Advocacy for The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. Refreshments provided. 

Join us virtually on Zoom.

Tuesday, November 22; 12:00pm Indian Child Welfare Act Discussion

Join us for a Zoom conversation with Natasha Singh (Dinyee Hu’tanna), VP Legal Affairs at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, who will discuss the Indian Child Welfare Act and provide an update on Brackeen v. Haaland in the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, November 29; 5 - 6:30 p.m. WWU Athletics Native American Heritage Night - Pregame Reception

Miller Hall Collaborative Space

Join us for a pregame reception to close out the celebration of Native American Heritage Month prior to the men’s basketball game. Traditional Coast Salish food and refreshments to be served.

Tuesday, November 29; 7 p.m. Men’s Basketball Native American Heritage Night

Carver Gym

Western Washington vs. Capilano University

The History of Native American Heritage Month

Colored red, green and teal waves

In 1990 Congress passed and President George H. W. Bush signed into law a joint resolution designating the month of November as the first National American Indian Heritage Month (also known as Native American Indian Month). “American Indians were the original inhabitants of the lands that now constitute the United States of America,” noted H.J. Res. 577. “Native American Indians have made an essential and unique contribution to our Nation” and "to the world."

Introduced by Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye and congressional delegate Eni Faloemavaega of American Samoa, the joint resolution stated that “the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon Federal, State, and local governments, interested groups and organizations, and the people of the United States to observe the month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.”

In 2008 the commemorative language was amended to also include the contributions of Alaskan Natives. Every year, by statute and/or presidential proclamation, the month of November is recognized as National Native American Heritage Month.

Information provided by US Senate.

Additional information from the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.


  • Native American Student Union
  • WWU Tribal Relations Office
  • Office of Student Resilience
  • LGBTQ+ Western
  • Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • WWU Community Relations
  • WWU Libraries
  • WWU Athletics
  • Center for Education, Equity, and Diversity
  • Office of Multicultural Student Services
Red/white/teal ribbons followed by the text WWU Native American Heritage Month. A black background with white text.