Native American Heritage Celebrated on UAFS Campus

A sign is place under a grove of trees
Josh Simonds, Upward Bound Classic Coordinator and member of the Cherokee Nation places a sign on the UAFS campus identifying the Native lands the UAFS campus occupies.

During the month of November, the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith will host a series of lectures, events, and passive projects in celebration of and tribute to Native American Heritage Month. 


Land acknowledgment signs will be placed around the UAFS campus to recognize and respect Native peoples as traditional stewards of the land the university now occupies. 


“UAFS is situated within a unique network of historic indigenous peoples,” explained Josh Simonds, Upward Bound Classic Coordinator and member of the Cherokee Nation. “Not only is the university located on the traditional land of the Quapaw, Caddo and Osage Nations, but is also situated in a community with land touched by the Trail of Tears and forced removal of tribes who lived along the East coast who were moved from across the nation to find themselves in the River Valley today.” 


“Addressing this history is a small piece of the puzzle that guides our work as a university in the present and the future, and we hope these signs of acknowledgment will honor those who lived here before us, as well as serve as a physical reminder of our recognition, respect and continued relationships with our Native populations.”


Throughout the month, the Boreham Library at UAFS will also feature displays of Native American artifacts and literature. 


The full slate of events includes: 


Native American Craft Kits: Pinch Pots

Boreham Library and Student Life Office

Craft kits are available to take home throughout the month.


History of the Osage

 4 p.m., Tuesday, November 10

Register for History of the Osage Virtual Event

 Learn about the Osage and Osage sites in Arkansas from Dr. Andrea Hunter with the Osage Nation Historic Preservation.


Heritage Crafts: Appreciation vs. Appropriation

 12 Noon, Tuesday, November 17

 UAFS Bell Tower

 Enjoy a fall crafting session and learn about the art behind basket weaving from former Miss Cherokee Ja li si Gladd. 


Who are the Chickamauga?

 4 p.m., Thursday, November 19

Register for Who are the Chickamauga Virtual Event

 Learn about the Chickamauga Nation from Chief Jimmy Kersh.


Native American Heritage Month events and displays are hosted by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Programming Committee and the Native American Heritage Month Planning Committee. The DEI Programming Committee hosted events for Hispanic Heritage Month in October and will continue celebrations in February for Black History Month, and March for Women’s History Month. 


Native American History Month has been celebrated in the United States since November of 1990 when President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating the month “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994. More information on the month’s history and national celebration is available at



Rachel Rodemann Putman
Date Posted: 
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
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