7 Ways to Celebrate Native American Heritage Month in CT

November marks Native American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate and raise awareness of the culture, history, and contributions of the Indigenous peoples who first resided in what is now the United States.

As of 2002, the State of Connecticut recognizes five tribes: the Golden Hill Paugussett, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, the Mohegan Tribe, the Paucatuck Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation, and the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation. However, the list of Native American groups compiled by the Connecticut Encyclopedia is much longer.

Various museums and programs are available throughout the state to educate residents about the rich culture of the original inhabitants and their history, as the impacts of colonialism are still apparent today.

Here are several ways to celebrate and learn about Native American history in Connecticut:

Learn about the history of Quinnetukut from Darlene Kascak

Manchester Public Library will host its Connecticut Indigenous Communities program at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Whiton Branch Library. Darlene Kascak, Education Coordinator for the Institute for American Indian Studies Museum and Research Center and member of the Schaghticoke Nation, will educate attendees about the lives of Eastern Woodland dwellers prior to European contact. . The free session will explore 12,000 years of Quinnetukut Nation history and cultures.

The outdoor museum will host a Native American Heritage Month celebration at the Village and Wood Memorial Library and Museum on Saturday, November 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At the event, speakers will explore the foodways of the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribal Nation and the history of Native quills. The museum also offers oral history videos on topics such as the life of a Native American today. Saturday is also the last day to view “Portraits in RED, a Project of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women,” a series of paintings by Nayana LaFond that aims to raise awareness about violence against Indigenous women.

The Mashantucket (Western) Pequot Women, an exhibit aimed at portraying the courage of Pequot women, premiered in October and will be on display until May 2023.

The museum is also hosting a cultural intelligence workshop, which will explore four areas of knowledge from the perspective of Native Americans.

On November 12, the museum will hold its “Honoring the Veterans Powwow” event to honor Native Americans and non-Native Americans who served in the United States Armed Forces. The annual event drew nearly 1,000 attendees and featured 100 traditional music artists.

The museum is also hosting a Tahqok (Autumn) FESTIVAL with a presentation of its 13 Moon’s: A Traditional Thanksgiving program, which delves into the nation’s relationship with the seasons and addresses Thanksgiving misconceptions.

At the oldest Native American-owned museum in the United States, visitors can learn about the Mohegan and other New England tribes by viewing exhibits of Native crafts, exploring a Mohegan village traditional and listening to the stories of the members of the tribe. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and offers free tours led by members of the Mohegan tribe.

The museum was established in 1975 with the goal of helping to reclaim the native history of New England. Visitors can view artifacts, read about Native American history, and explore the Three Sisters Gardens and the Outdoor Section’s Medicinal Plants and a replica of a 16th-century Algonquin village.

The museum’s annual Indigenous Film Showcase celebrates Indigenous filmmakers from communities in the Western Hemisphere and the Arctic. The event will feature 35 films from multiple genres such as documentaries, music videos and Indigenous language films. All films will be available on demand from November 18 to 25.

Fazal Sheikh’s new exhibition, comprised of landscapes and portraits, aims to depict the impact of environmental racism in the American Southwest, particularly on Indigenous peoples. The photographer collaborated with the grassroots Native American organization Utah Diné Bikéyah on the project.

According to Artnet.com and the Yale Daily News, Sheikh nearly didn’t complete the exhibit after the museum refused to display an offering from a Diné spiritual advisor, prompting a statement and apology from the from the museum.

The exhibit will be on display until January 8, 2023 alongside his previous series “Erasure,” which documents the struggles of Palestinian Bedouins who were displaced from the Negev desert in southern Israel.

About Bobby F. Lopez

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