Letters to the UMB Community

National Native American Heritage Month

November 04, 2022

Dear UMB Community:
November is National Native American Heritage Month, a time to recognize and honor the cultures, heritages, and living practices of Native people who have stewarded these lands for generations.
The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916. Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, rode across the nation on horseback seeking approval from 24 state governments to have a day to honor Native Americans. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Similar proclamations using variants of the name have been issued every year since 1994. In Maryland, the passage of House Bill 40 in 2014 officially designated November as American Indian Heritage Month in the state.
This month at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), we affirm our commitment and support for our Native colleagues and friends, celebrate their achievements, and continue to collaborate to foster a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community.
Here in the Baltimore area, Ashley Minner, MA, MFA, PhD, (Lumbee) is a lecturer in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a well-known voice for the Lumbee people here. She is a community-based visual artist and scholar working in collaboration with the Native American community of East Baltimore. Dr. Minner is working with the community to map East Baltimore's “reservation,” which she sees as a reclamation of history, space, and belonging.
John Herrington (Chickasaw) was the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to go to space. On his 13-day voyage on the space shuttle in 2002, he proudly carried the Chickasaw Nation flag that was given to him by the Chickasaw Nation Governor, Bill Anoatubby, for Herrington’s trip to space. Herrington also carried eagle feathers, arrowheads, and traditional wooden flutes with him into space. Herrington is now a national motivational speaker, and his mission is to encourage young people to pursue excellence in education, especially in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail (Crow-Sioux) was the first Crow and one of the first Native American registered nurses in the United States. She was an advocate for quality, culturally sensitive health care. Yellowtail documented stories of medical abuse frequently experienced by Native Americans when visiting non-native doctors and hospitals. She sought to bring better care to her people and was vocal and effective in her advocacy. As a leader on her reservation and in the medical system, Yellowtail made long-lasting changes that can still be felt today.
We at UMB are proud of the accomplishments and contributions of members of the Native American community, and we embrace, honor, and acknowledge all of their achievements.
In partnership and collaboration,
Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD
Vice President and Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer


Please join us at these UMB events this month:
A Guide to Indigenous Maryland
Nov. 8 | Noon – 1 p.m. | Zoom | Register Here
‘The Table’ Dialogue: What Does It Mean to Celebrate Thanksgiving?
Nov. 15 | Noon – 1 p.m. | Zoom | Register Here
Common Cultural Characteristics: A Visual Performance and Lecture on American Indian Traditions
Nov. 18 | Noon – 1 p.m. | SMC Campus Center, Elm Ballroom A & B | Register Here
Other events of interest in Maryland:
American Indian Heritage Day
Nov. 5 | 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, St. Leonard, Md. | More Information
Baltimore American Indian Center’s 49th Annual BAIC Pow-Wow
Nov. 19 | 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Maryland State Fairgrounds, Timonium, Md. | More Information
Note: For more information on Maryland’s American Indian sites and experiences, click here.

Back to Letters to the UMB Community