Clemson plans multiple events for Native American Heritage Month


November is National Native American Heritage Month and Clemson University has several events scheduled.

According to the National Congress of American Indians, the month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories and acknowledge the important contributions of native people. Heritage Month is also an opportunity to educate the general public about tribes, raise general awareness about the unique challenges experienced by native people and how tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.

“Through the work of our amazing planning committee, we have been able to invite individuals, such as artist Esteban Cabeza de Baca, storyteller Freeman Owle and the leaders of the Nikwasi Initiative; Elaine Eisenbraun, Juanita Wilson and Barbara McRae, to present during the month,” said Larissa Jenkins, a second-year graduate student in the Counselor Education M.Ed. program from Clemmons, North Carolina, and chair of Clemson’s observance.

“I hope that we can share new knowledge with the Clemson community, and engage students, faculty, staff and community members in this important work of acknowledging history and continuing to support indigenous individuals.”

Jenkins said one of the highlights of this year’s observance will be a talk by three leaders of the Nikwasi Initiative, a bridge-building project that works with communities to recognize, preserve and interpret the culture and heritage of people and places on the landscape that was traditionally the Cherokee homeland, including the land upon which Clemson University now stands.

Scheduled events:

Elaine Eisenbraun, Juanita Wilson and Barbara McRae: Learning about and Learning from the Nikwasi Initiative

Thursday, November 5

7-8 p.m. Zoom Link

Engage with Elaine Eisenbraun, Juanita Wilson and Barbara McRae as they present their work regarding the Nikwasi Initiative. A bridge-building project, the Nikwasi Initiative works with communities to recognize, preserve and interpret the culture and heritage of people and places on the landscape that was traditionally the Cherokee homeland.

Advancing Indigeneity on Campus

Monday, November 9

2-3:30 p.m. Register through Tiger Training

This workshop shares the histories of indigenous groups on this land, engages participants in a critical dialogue about contemporary indigeneity and shares current efforts to enhance indigeneity on Clemson’s campus through the Indigenizing Clemson committee. *This workshop is part of the Strategic Exclusive Excellence Certificate program.

Hidden Here in Plain Sight: Cherokee Persons, Land, and Clay

Coordinated by Dr. Andrea Feeser and Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA)

Wednesday, November 11

6-7 p.m. RSVP Link

Engage with Andrea Feeser as she presents a history of interlocked events involving porcelain, an eighteenth-century battle and treaty that took place at the Cherokee town Isunigu upon which Clemson is built and Cherokee persons likely enslaved.

Rethinking Religion in Native American Contexts: An Exploration of the Limits of Comparison in 17th-Century New France

Coordinated by Dr. James Jeffries and Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA)

Thursday, November 12

7-8 p.m. RSVP Link

Engage with James Jeffries as he presents his research of imposed comparison among

17th-century New France missionaries in an effort to scrutinize and historicize the use of the term “religion” in discussion of Native American belief systems.

Artist Presentation: Esteban Cabeza de Baca

Thursday, November 19

7-8 p.m. RSVP Link

Engage in an artist’s presentation featuring Esteban Cabeza de Baca. Cabeza de Baca’s hybrid techniques and influences form a complex braid that interrogates the dialectical relationships between colonialism and its critique, between cultural extraction and its inversion.

Cherokee History and Stories: Freeman Owle

Friday, November 20

7-8 p.m. Zoom Link

Join us for our storytelling event featuring Freeman Owle. In addition to storytelling, Freeman Owle carves wood and stone, and speaks about the Cherokee and history.

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