Native and Indigenous Heritage Month

In recognition of Native and Indigenous Heritage Month (NIHM), St. John’s University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs has organized a multicampus celebration with the theme, “Embracing the Elements.” This year we explore the significance that different elements hold across various Native and Indigenous cultures and invite our guests to learn how to better take care of the environment. NIHM pays tribute to and honors the rich and diverse cultures, legacy, traditions, histories, and contributions made by Native American and Indigenous individuals and communities. 

We invite you to join in the University community’s celebration of Native and Indigenous Heritage Month (also known as National Native American Heritage Month), which is nationally celebrated in November.  

We continue to offer virtual, hybrid, and in-person access to our cultural inclusion programming.

To accommodate all in-person and virtual needs of our guests, we ask that attendees register for each event.  

Queens Campus Events

There’s Something in the Water Film Screening and Discussion

in Collaboration with the Environmental Studies Department; Student Government, Inc.’s Sustainability Committee; and Catholic Relief Services’ Ambassadors of Global Justice

Thursday, November 2 | 5:30–7:45 p.m. ET
D’Angelo Center, Room 206, and Inclusivity Resource Center, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
Register Now

Join us for a film screening of the documentary, There’s Something in the Water. This documentary explores the disturbing—and frankly terrifying—portrait of ecological and social disasters in Nova Scotia.    

Based on Ingrid Waldron’s incendiary study, the film follows Elliot Page as he travels to rural areas of the province that are plagued by toxic fallout from industrial development. As did Ms. Waldron, the filmmakers discover that these catastrophes have been precisely placed, all in remote, low income—and very often Indigenous or Black—communities. As the filmmakers observe, your postal code determines your health. We’re introduced to many courageous women. For example, Louise, from Shelburne, gives us a tour of a neighborhood in her hometown where every house has been affected by cancer.

A postscreening discussion will be held in the Inclusivity Resource Center from 7 to 7:45 p.m. ET. Food and refreshments will be served.

“Protecting Our Lands: the Importance of Indigenous Science and Climate Change” Roundtable Discussion

in Collaboration with the Environmental Studies Department; Student Government, Inc.’s Sustainability Committee; and Catholic Relief Services’ Ambassadors of Global Justice

Thursday, November 9 | 5–7 p.m. ET
Inclusivity Resource Center, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
Register Now

Join us for a roundtable discussion where we explore the importance of Native and Indigenous science and research and the protection of our planet Earth. We will be joined by a special guest speaker, Charitie Ropati. Food and refreshments will be served.

About the Guest Speaker

Charitie Ropati (Yup'ik and Samoan) is a 21-year-old education and environmental activist who worked to implement an accurate and inclusive subcurriculum of Indigenous peoples in Western pedagogy in Alaska. She also was an integral part in passing policy at the Anchorage School District that allowed students to wear their cultural regalia during graduation. This is a policy that is still in place. 

She was named a “Champion for Change” by the Center for Native American Youth for her work in education, and she has been featured and nationally recognized for her advocacy in Teen Vogue, the Malala Fund, The Guardian, and elsewhere. She has been recognized as a 2022 “In the Know” ChangeMaker. She is also a 2023 Future Rising Fellow with Girls Rising and has been recognized as the 2023 WWF conservation leadership award winner. 

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Movement: Cornhusk Doll-Making Workshop

in Collaboration with the Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department; Feminists Unite; Lambda Pi Chi; the American Indian Community House; and the Urban Indigenous Collective 

Thursday, November 16 | 5–7 p.m.
Inclusivity Resource Center, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
Register Now

To close St. John’s Native and Indigenous Heritage Month, we will host a Cornhusk Doll-Making Workshop with American Indian Community House artist, Danielle Soames. During this workshop, we will discuss what it means to Indigenous and important research conducted on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s movement. We will also create our very own cornhusk dolls and dedicate them to the women that the Native communities have lost throughout the years. Food and refreshments will be served.


Staten Island Campus Event

NIHM: Resilience and Reverence: a First Nation’s Showcase

Thursday, November 16 | 1:50–3:15 p.m. ET
Kiernan Suite, Kelleher Center
Register Now

The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) on the Staten Island campus will host a Common Ground Dialogue exhibit. The exhibit features storyboards created by our OMA student leaders on the Lenape People, Land Back movement, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement, and, as well as the Osage Nation, featuring discussion on this season’s movie by Martin Scorsese and book by David Grann titled Killers of the Flower Moon

We have a special guest joining us for the lunch: Jaclyn M. Tacoronte, the first Native American Minority/Woman Business Enterprise (M/WBE) in New York City history after advocating for the term “minorities” to include Native Americans. She is an award-winning marketing and public relations professional with more than 20 years of experience in both agency and client-side settings, serving Fortune 500 companies including Canon, Puma, Harley-Davidson, and Procter & Gamble. She is frequently a public relations guest speaker and panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, Not for Profit Association, Center for Non-Profit Success, and the Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness

She is currently the Chief Executive Officer and President of JMT Media, LLC, a New York-certified M/WBE boutique marketing, public relations, and design firm that specializes in small business marketing and the nonprofit sector. In 2021, the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation named JMT Media one of the “Top 31 Most Influential Businesses in Staten Island.”In 2022, PR Newswire awarded JMT Media the National Social Impact Award in Washington, DC. In 2023, Crain’s New York Business named Ms. Tacoronte one of the “Top 75 Marketing and Public Relations Executives in New York City.”