The month of November has been designated as Native American Heritage Month in the United States. This month offers all Americans the chance to reflect on the culture, history and importance of American Indians. UW-Eau Claire’s Inter-Tribal Student Council is working hard to bring interactive events to campus throughout the month to offer educational opportunities to the students, faculty, staff and the community.
Dr. Heather Ann Moody, an assistant professor of American Indian Studies at UW-Eau Claire, also serves as the co-advisor for the Inter-Tribal Student Council. She has worked with the students to bring to campus the shocking and heartfelt exhibit “Sing Our Rivers Red.” The exhibit displays almost 1,200 earrings, each one representing an indigenous woman who has either gone missing or been murdered in North America.
The opening reception for “Sing Our Rivers Red” is from 4-6 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Council Oak Room of Davies Center. The exhibit also will be open to the public on Nov. 11 and Nov. 18.
“We wanted to focus on indigenous women and shine a light on their struggles this month,” Moody said. “Many people are not aware of the vast number of indigenous women who go missing or are murdered in America. A large contributor to this issue is the lack of documentation in the United States — we just don’t have the statistics. People need to know about this, so we are providing them the opportunity.”
Moody and her team encourage people to take the time to view the exhibit and others like it this month.
“This exhibit along with the other events we will be holding are absolutely open to everyone,” Moody said. “People are welcome to come to our opening event, stop by the exhibit when it is open, or even go as a class. I want this to be an exhibit that allows people to get involved with American Indian issues. These things are local and affect everyone. Bringing awareness to these issues is the first thing we can do to help.”
The “Sing Our Rivers Red” exhibit will also include a painting by a local female indigenous artist. These items are unique to women’s issues and will shed an important light on the way the indigenous community has fallen victim to the hands of kidnapping, murder and sex trafficking, Moody said.
"As heavy as these issues are, the Inter-Tribal Student Council has made them accessible and are providing the community with an important learning experience," Moody said.
Along with the “Sing Our Rivers Red” exhibit, events will be held almost every week throughout November, among them a powwow, an “Ask an Indian” panel, and a panel discussion that includes the Ho-Chunk president.
“The 'Sing Our Rivers Red' exhibit, along with all of our other events, are so powerful,” Moody said. “It is profound to hear the voices of native students and community members. It is amazing to see how this month has the power to address so many issues and answer so many burning questions. The community has a lot to gain throughout this month, and we encourage everyone to participate.”
See the full listing of Native American Heritage Month events at UW-Eau Claire.