A celebration of Native American heritage, Wednesday

Members of the campus community and public are invited to a lunch and program celebrating Native American Heritage Month this Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Hosted by the campus’s Native American Staff Council, the eighth annual event is set to take place from noon to 2 p.m. at the Multicultural Community Center in the MLK Jr. Student Union (2495 Bancroft Way, suite 220). Lunchgoers will have a wide spread of traditional American Indian foods to choose from, including Indian tacos, posole and calabaza.

people getting lunch

(UC Berkeley photo by Anne Brice)

Artist-in-residence Leonard Crow Dog Jr., ceremonial chief and leader of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate in South Dakota, will open with a prayer and provide a blessing before the meal. Performances will follow, along with a Pendleton blanket raffle and displays highlighting Native American experiences, contributions and challenges — nationally and here on the Berkeley campus.

Sidalia Reel, director of staff diversity initiatives in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion, will be honored for her “dedication, loyalty, tenacity and ability to empower others and promote social justice and fairness” on campus.

Speakers will include Berkeley alum Melinda Micco; Leonard Crow Dog Jr., who will also be performing traditional songs on the flute; Carmen Foghorn, director of the American Indian Graduate Program; Elizabeth Guerra, Native American recruitment specialist for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions; Melissa Stoner, Native American Studies Librarian at the Ethnic Studies Library; and other campus representatives. In November, the library will display an exhibit, “500 years of Resistance — Native American Protests to Commemorate American Indian Heritage Month.”

American Indian Heritage Month, also known as Native American Heritage Month, was designated last November by President Obama; previously the nation marked Native American Awareness Week each year in early October.

The council encourages those planning to attend to buy tickets — a $10 donation — in advance by contacting Anthony Garcia at amgarcia@berkeley.edu or (510) 499-1713. Tickets will also be sold at the door as space allows.

A Pendleton blanket was a raffle prize. (UC Berkeley photo by Josephine Wu)

A Pendleton blanket will be one of the prizes at the raffle at this year’s event. (UC Berkeley photo by Josephine Wu)

The luncheon serves as a fundraiser for the Native American Staff Council, which works to address the needs and concerns of Native American and Alaskan Native staff (who represent approximately 0.7 percent of campus staff) and to promote recruitment and retention of Native students. The organization is seeking volunteers with such skills as fundraising, strategic planning and social media. Tribal membership is not required to participate as a member, just a commitment to diversity, inclusion and social justice.

Locally, the American Indian Film Festival is held in November. A number of council members serve as jurors for the festival, which will be held through Nov. 11 in San Francisco.

To learn more about the Native American Staff Council, visit its website or Facebook page.