In 1990, a joint resolution designated November as Native American Heritage Month (NAHM), nationally recognizing what had previously been state-designated holidays. Throughout the month, Americans are encouraged to recognize and uplift the innumerable contributions, both past and present, of Indigenous people.
George Mason University’s student organization Native American and Indigenous Alliance (NAIA) is dedicated to promoting Indigenous culture, raising awareness of Native issues, and providing a safe environment for Native and non-Native students. We spoke with members of NAIA to hear about how they’ve found community here at Mason and their perspectives on the importance of NAHM.
Puerto Rican of Taíno descent
BA in Foreign Languages, concentration in Korean
Piscataway and Rappahannock tribes
BS in Information Technology
Macarena De La Cruz Velasquez
BA in Criminology, Law and Society
Quechua Nation; Chichimeca, and Karankawa Kadla tribes
BA in Anthropology
Chickahominy Indian Tribe of Virginia
BA in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, concentration on interpersonal dynamics
You can view the full video on our Instagram: @georgemasonu
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Named to Oprah Magazine’s list of Native American Authors to Read Right Now in 2020, Mason alum Kelli Jo Ford, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is the author of Crooked Hallelujah, a “novel-in-stories that follows four generations of Cherokee women as they travel farther from their native Oklahoma.” Learn more about her.