NACC kicks off National Native American Heritage Month with in-person and virtual events

Colorado State University’s Native American Cultural Center is hosting a month of programs and events focused on Indigenous history, culture and food for Native American Heritage Month.

With community programming extending beyond CSU and into the Fort Collins community, NACC is offering both in-person and virtual events. This celebration kicked off on Oct. 27 with a keynote talk by poet and novelist Joshua Whitehead in collaboration with the Pride Resource Center at the end of LGBTQIA+ History Month. 

According to organizers, in-person programming will adhere to social distancing guidelines, mask requirements and COVID-19 safety protocols as recommended by CSU. It is important during the pandemic that while enjoying social events, safety is a number one priority to students, staff and faculty, organizers said. Virtual events will be held over Zoom, and the event link will be highlighted on the NACC’s social media pages and website

All events, online or in-person, are free for the public to attend and a great volunteer opportunity, according to the organizers. Certain events, such as the CSU Housing & Dining Services Native American Heritage Month Special, will feature indigenous foods and a special dining experience for students to learn more about the cultures and backgrounds represented at CSU.

Native American Heritage Month events

“We hope the programs and events showcased in Native American Heritage Month provide community and a space for Native and Indigenous students to gather and be together,” NACC Assistant Director Tiffani Kelly said. “As well as for the non-Native community at CSU and Fort Collins to have an opportunity to learn more about Indigenous communities in ways they may not have been exposed to, while also being in community together to learn and support one another.”

The Native American Cultural Center also is hosting a panel discussion on Nov. 3 with Indigenous researchers and tribal leaders on “Indigenous People, Tribal Sovereignty, and Climate Adaptation.” The panel will focus on how land-grant universities such as CSU can acknowledge the effects of climate change. This event is open to the public and a reservation is required. Visit the website to register at

The following week on Nov. 9 and 10, the Aspen Grille inside the LSC Dining Center will feature Native American lunch dishes with indigenous ingredients such as corn, strawberries and tomatoes. Chef Ken Symsack will prepare dishes that acknowledge the importance of these foods. Reservations are encouraged in advance for preparation. 

Also that week on Nov. 10 and 11, organizers will showcase a documentary titled Home From School: The Children of Carlisle at the Behavioral Sciences Building and the Lyric, with a panel discussion afterward. 

The documentary follows the 2017 journey of a group of Northern Arapaho elders and youth as they travel from the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming to Pennsylvania to retrieve the bodies of three children buried at the Carlisle Indian boarding school a century ago. The event is open to the public. No RSVP is needed.

Following the film screening, a panel comprising film subjects and the filmmaker will answer audience questions. The panel features Jordan Dresser, tribal chairman and associate producer; Yufna Solider Wolf, former director of the Northern Arapaho Tribal Historic Preservation Office; and Geoff O’Gara, film director. More information can be found here.

On Nov. 16, the official Community Harvest dinner at the Arikara Farm has been adapted to an outdoor, drive-through event with optional socially distant activities. The organizers hope to engage with the community that helped support the farm this season in order to produce the traditional food and heritage turkey. For more information, email Tiffani Kelly for more information at

Diné artist JayCee Beyale’s work will be showcased at the Lory Student Center Duhesa Art Gallery reception on Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and will feature comments from the artist at 5:15 p.m.

If interested in learning more about the events mentioned above, please visit the NACC’s official website or any of their social media pages on Instagram and Facebook.

Native American Heritage Month 2021 poster