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UW-Eau Claire celebrates Native American Heritage Month throughout November

| Denise Olson (story); Glen Mabie (video)

Photo caption: Native American Heritage Month would be an excellent time for students to incorporate the campus-owned artifacts into a research project. The above video offers a few examples of the unique items students and faculty can access in the library's special collections.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Inter-Tribal Student Council and the American Indian studies program invite the campus and community to join in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s celebration of Native American Heritage Month throughout the month of November.

The calendar of events includes a contemporary art exhibit, virtual speakers on historical and contemporary topics, alumni guests, a powwow, Native American foods and more — all opportunities to honor, inform and acknowledge the rich history and cultures of the Indigenous people of Wisconsin and across the U.S.

A few highlighted guests:

  • Pablo Center at the Confluence exhibit artist Christopher Sweet, Oct. 29-Dec. 12: The contemporary Indigenous artwork of Christopher Sweet will be part of a Pablo Center exhibit in the Brady and Jeanne Foust Gallery. “First Nations Contemporary Art: Exploring the Native American Experience” will showcase Sweet’s paintings meant to examine perceptions, misconceptions and Native identity. Sweet lives in the Milwaukee area and is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. He refined his craft while studying at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

  • Powwow performance by Bizhiki Culture and Dance Company, Nov. 6: Due to the continued campus protocols surrounding the pandemic, this year’s powwow will not involve the usual community Native dancers, but rather will be a stage performance and presentation from the Bizhiki Culture and Dance Company. Founded by Dylan Bizhikiins Jennings, a member of the Marten clan of the Bad River Ojibwe tribe, the Bikhiki organization seeks to further the understanding of Indigenous cultures through workshops, performance and consultation. Jennings is a Ph.D. candidate at UW-Madison and has served for many years in elected tribal leadership and state tribal advocacy agencies. He is currently an adjunct faculty member of American Indian studies at Northland College in Ashland. For a preview of this performance group, see this video collaboration with Bon Iver, featuring UW-Eau Claire alumnus Justin Vernon. 

  • Virtual presentation on American Indian boarding schools by Tracy Littlejohn, Nov. 9. Littlejohn, a 2007 graduate of UW-La Crosse, is an expert in the field of Native American education who serves as the home-to-school coordinator for the Ho-Chunk Nation La Crosse Youth and Learning Center. A fierce advocate for social justice throughout the Coulee Region and beyond, Littlejohn received the region’s 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award. Littlejohn is widely recognized for her work educating communities about the negative impact of Indian mascots; her work as a facilitator, mediator and coordinator with advisory councils and advocacy groups across the region; and her successful workshops related to hate, bias, domestic violence and the lasting impact of racism on marginalized people.

For questions about any of the events of the Native American Heritage Month celebrations, contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at or 715-836-3367.