Native American Heritage Month at ASU graphic

ASU commemorates Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. During this month, we celebrate the cultures, contributions, histories and traditions of Indigenous people. There are more than 500 federally recognized tribes in the United States, 22 of which are in Arizona. 

Native American Heritage Month has evolved from one-day to a month-long celebration of Indigenous people. In 1916, New York was the first state to declare an “American Indian Day.” Then, in 1986, President Reagan designated November 23-30 as “American Indian Week,” and in 1990, President Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 as “Native American Indian Heritage Month.” Every year, by statute or proclamation, November is recognized as National Native American Heritage Month.

At ASU, events are held throughout the month, virtually and in-person, to honor Sun Devils’ heritage and provide a platform for Indigenous students to share their cultures and traditions with the campus community. 

Research Centering Indigenous Communities 

Jospeph Gazing Wolf and Jerome Clark are two PhD candidates whose research honors their Native heritage by recentering Indigenous communities.

Joseph Gazing Wolf is a PhD candidate whose research interests stem from his experiences in Africa and the American Dakotas. Wolf was born to the Amazigh people in North Africa and later adopted by the Lakota people and brought to the United States. He has been a tribal shepherd in the Nile valley and as a buffalo range rider in the Northern Plains of the US.

Wolf has two main research projects at ASU, both of which are rooted in his Indigenous African and Native American heritage. For one project, Wolf is researching the restoration of buffalo populations by native communities. He looks at challenges to the rehabilitation of buffalo, such as the cost of infrastructure as well as gender and racial inequity. To conduct this research, Wolf collaborates with TankaFund, a native-led nonprofit organization that aims to bring buffalo back to Indian Country. His second research project looks at the prevention of locust outbreaks in West Africa and Latin America.

Read more about Joseph Gazing Wolf.

Jerome Clark, also a PhD candidate, looks at stories as a way to imagine and create a better future for the Navajo nation, his nation. He studies indigenous literature, focusing on the story traditions of the Diné (aka Navajo) tribe to which he belongs. In his dissertation titled “Seeking Life; Diné storytelling as power, imagination and future-making,” Clark analyzes Navajo storytelling and examines how these stories are “used to suppress and proliferate life.” 

Clark has been invited to continue his research at Yale as a member of the Henry Roe Cloud Dissertation Writing Fellowship program.

Read more about Jerome Clark

For a full list of Native American Heritage Month events at ASU, visit the Student and Cultural Engagement website.

Jenna Nabors