UC San Diego News Center


UC San Diego’s Celebration of Native American Heritage Month Underway

Throughout November, UC San Diego is honoring the history, culture and achievements of Native American peoples and tribes with various Native American Heritage month events. From art exhibits, and documentary screenings to a lecture by U.S. Gold medal Olympian Billy Mills, this year’s events are designed to celebrate achievements and to demonstrate support for Native American students and local tribal communities, while raising awareness of issues faced by indigenous communities nationwide. The majority of events take place this month, and many extend into 2018.


“UC San Diego is proud to host this celebration of Native American heritage, a cherished campus tradition among students, faculty, staff and community members,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “The celebration, formally known as California Native American Day, is an extension of our campus’s continued efforts to help strengthen the university’s relationship with local tribal communities and educate the campus about the importance of Native American contributions to our society.”

Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Becky Petitt added, “UC San Diego is proud to recognize the significant contributions Native Americans have made to our region, state and country. Throughout the month of November and the entire year, UC San Diego is able to present a comprehensive set of educational and artistic events that help establish a campus environment of support, respect and inclusion.”

The celebrations have been organized by a committee led by the Intertribal Resource Center, one of six community resource centers on campus. A sampling of events is listed below. For a full list of events, click here.

  • “Running Brave” Screening, Nov. 9, 4 to 6 p.m., Intertribal Resource Center, Price Center East: “Running Brave” is a film based on the story of U.S. Olympian Billy Mills, who will speak on campus Mon., Nov. 13. Participants can prepare for his lecture by learning about his journey to success in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics at this free campus screening.
  • William M. “Billy” Mills Lecture, Nov. 13, 5 to 9 p.m., The Great Hall, Eleanor Roosevelt College International House: This free event features speaker Billy Mills--also known as Makata Taka Hela--a Native American who won a gold medal for the United States at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. In what is now considered one of the greatest Olympic upsets of all time, Mills became the first and only individual in the Western hemisphere to win the 10,000 meter run. As an athlete, United States Marine and member of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Tribe, Mills will be speaking about the pursuit of excellence and global unity through global diversity.
  • “Tribal Justice” Screening, Nov. 14, 3 to 5 p.m., Comunidad Room, Cross-Cultural Center, Price Center East, 2nd floor (map): This documentary is about two Native American judges who address the root causes of crime in their communities in order to reduce incarceration rates, foster community safety and create a more positive future for youth. The film follows how they use this knowledge to model solutions and bring awareness of these issues to courts throughout the nation.
  • “Once We Had A River” Screening, Nov. 20, 4 to 6 p.m., Green Table Room, Price Center, 2nd floor, Sun God Lounge (map): This free viewing of “Once We Had A River” tells a story about the fight of five tribes to regain control of their water rights.
  • Native American Beading Class, Nov. 21, 4 to 5:30 p.m., Price Center West, Thurgood Marshall College Room, 2nd floor: Participants will learn how to create beautiful beadwork with instructor Richard DeCrane. Supplies will be provided.
  • 8th Annual Powwow at UC San Diego, May 2018, Date and Time TBA, Marshall Field: The Powwow is a Native American gathering focused on dance, song and family that celebrates the connections to tradition, spirituality, the Earth and community. Free and open to the public, this annual campus event is hosted by the Native American Student Alliance and will include an announcement of essay contest winners. Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), (858) 281-3898,

Native American Heritage Month 2017 is sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Resource Management and Planning, Department of Ethnic Studies, Department of Theatre and Dance, and Welcome Week 2017.