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Indigenous Heritage Month Exhibit 2021

Indigenous Heritage Month Online Exhibit 2021

Land Acknowledgement

"Iowa State University aspires to be the best land‐grant university at creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where diverse individuals can succeed and thrive. As a land‐grant institution, we are committed to the caretaking of this land and would like to begin this event by acknowledging those who have previously taken care of the land on which we gather. Before this site became Iowa State University, it was the ancestral lands and territory of the Baxoje (bah-kho-dzhe), or Ioway Nation. The United States obtained the land from the Meskwaki and Sauk nations in the Treaty of 1842. We wish to recognize our obligations to this land and to the people who took care of it, as well as to the 17,000 Native people who live in Iowa today." ISU Land Acknowledgement, Approved and posted February 18, 2020.

We would also like to recognize additional nations with historic and current connections to the state of Iowa, including the Winnebago and Ho-Chunk, the Omaha, the Dakota and Yankton Sioux, and the Potawatomi, Otoe, and Menominee nations, among others. 

Indian Nation Websites

Welcome to our Indigenous Heritage Month 2021 online exhibit!

This exhibit presents a wide selection of recent and historical topics to celebrate Indigenous Heritage Month. Selected books, resources, and even TikToks are included for your reading and viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Illustration of red and green patterned feathers for Indigenous Heritage Month

Illustration of green and red patterned feathers against a golden background. Licensed under Creative Commons CC0.

Indigenous Heritage Month is celebrated during the month of November. This commemorative month aims to provide a platform for Native people in the United States of America to share their culture, traditions, music, crafts, dance, and ways and concepts of life. President George H. W. Bush first declared November as National American Indian Heritage Month, thereafter commonly referred to as Indigenous Heritage Month, on August 3, 1990 and it was considered a landmark bill that honored indigenous tribal populations. 


The Meskwaki (Tama County), Ho-chunk/Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska (Woodbury county), Ponca Tribe of Nebraska (Pottawattamie County), and Omaha Tribe of Nebraska and Iowa ( Monona County). However, the Meskwaki are the only federally recognized tribe in the state.

Iowa. Indigenous protests led by local activists, such as Maria Pearson and Don Wanatee, began in the early 1970s and raised issues of proper disposition of Indigenous burials, the defilement of Indigenous burial grounds, and equal protection under the law. Their work resulted in Iowa Burials Protection Act of 1976.

According to 2020 reports, Woodbury, Polk, Tama, Pottawattami, and Scott counties are the highest and make up about 45.2% of Iowa's total Native population combined. For more figures, check out this report published by the State Library of Iowa.

Featherwork. Indigenous people in the Americas have long used featherwork in clothing, weapons, ceremonial shields, and tapestry.

Camp Kearney in Davenport, Iowa. Originally founded as a Union training camp for the Civil War effort, President Abraham Lincoln signed off on the order that imprisoned about 265 Dakota men from 1863-66 following the US-Dakota in Minnesota.

Many Great Lakes Tribes wear Roach Headdress styles while Plains Tribes wear War Bonnets.


This exhibit was created by Hema Thulsidhos and Katie Wampole of the ISU Library's DEI Committee with contributions from UNASA.