For the 23rd year, the University of Montana will host American Indian Heritage Day celebrations with a week of activities in honor of the annual day, held on the fourth Friday of September. American Indian Heritage Day is this Friday, September 25th and campus activities will recognize the people, cultures and contributions American Indians have made to the University.

“American Indian Heritage Day makes explicit the depth and breadth of the contributions Native Americans have made and continue to make to our country,” said UM President Seth Bodnar. “We’re committed to honoring these contributions, in part, by delivering on our promise to provide an education that recognizes the rich history and culture of our Native American friends and colleagues.”

UM students, faculty, staff and Missoula community members are invited to show their Native Griz pride each day this week with the following themes:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 22 – “Indigenized Mask” Day
  • Wednesday, Sept. 23 – “Rock Your Mocs” Day
  • Thursday, Sept. 24 – Ribbon Shirt/Skirt Day
  • Friday, Sept. 25 – “Native Griz” Day (participants are encouraged to wear their “Indigenized Mask,” “Rock Your Mocs,” and ribbon shirt/skirt.)

Friday’s events will include a number of activities, including a smudge at 11 a.m. If ever there were a year we all needed to smudge, this is it.

  • 7:30 a.m. – Sunrise Ceremony with Arlene Adams, sponsored by All Nations Health Center, at the Payne Family Native American Center Fire Pit.
  • 8 a.m. – Coffee and Tea, sponsored by Health Careers Opportunity Program, in the Payne Family Native American Center Rotunda.
  • 8:30 a.m. – Tribal flag raising at the Payne Family Native American Center.
  • 9:00 a.m. – “Legal Grind: Breakfast and Info on Alexander Blewett III School of Law,” Native American Law Student Association, Garlington Plaza (School of Law).
  • 10 a.m. – American Indian Student Services lodge raising on the Oval.
  • 11 a.m. – Branch Center “Smudge Space” opening, University Center Branch Center.
  • 11 a.m.–1 p.m. – Tabling on the Oval, Kyiyo, AIBL, Native American Natural Resources Program, All Nations Health Center and more.
  • 11:45 a.m. – Procession of tribal flags sponsored by the Department of Native American Studies, the Office of the President and All Nations Health Center, starting at the Payne Family Native American Center and ending in front of University Hall.
  • Noon – Presentation in front of University Hall and online.
    • Introductions | master of ceremonies Zachary Wagner (Cheyenne/Blackfeet, Junior, Native American Studies)
    • Honor Song
    • Blessing: Tony Incashola Sr., Séliš-Ql̓iíspé Cultural Committee
    • Presidential Address: President Seth Bodnar
    • Special Guest Speaker: Arlene Adams, Two River Eagle School
    • Dancers/Singers Showcase
    • Closing remarks
  • 12:45 p.m. – American Indian Heritage Day meal sponsored by the Health Careers Opportunity Program and Native Children’s Trauma Center, on the Oval.
  • 4-8 p.m. – Indigenous Meal sponsored by UM Campus Dining in the Food Zoo Presentation: 6 p.m., Mariah Gladstone, Indigikitchen.

Brad Hall, UM’s tribal outreach specialist, emphasized that all events will adhere to COVID-19 protocols, including a requirement to wear masks and practice social distancing.

“Because we will have a limited number of chairs, I encourage everyone to reserve them for elders and those who are unable to stand for long periods of time,” Hall said.

The costs to attend is $12.25 (general public), $9.80 (UM Bear Bucks) and $3.75 (UM students with residential dining plan).

All events are made possible thanks to a community volunteer effort made up of UM students, faculty, staff and Missoula community members, as well as both campus-based and Missoula community sponsors.

Check out this awesome video from last September's Griz home game!