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Native American Heritage Month: Home

This IS Kalapuyan Land opened in 2019 as a physical museum exhibition by Guest Curator Steph Littlebird Fogel (Grand Ronde, Kalapuya) and became an online exhibition in 2020.

The exhibition prompts critical thinking around representation of Indigenous history and identity in non-Indigenous institutions.

This IS Kalapuyan Land acts as both a museum exhibition title and land acknowledgment. It is also a declaration of perpetual stewardship by the Kalapuyan people. “We have always been here, we will always be here.”

WOU Alumni: Rick Bartow

Rick Bartow with his paintings at Froelick Gallery, Portland, Oregon. Source: Wikipedia

Rick Bartow was a member of the Mad River band of the Wiyot Tribe, and graduated from Western Oregon University (then the Oregon College of Education) in 1969. Bartow's carving The Cedar Mill Pole was displayed in the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden at the White House in 1997. The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian commissioned Bartow's monumental cedar sculptures We Were Always Here, which sit on the northwest corner of the museum overlooking the National Mall.

Four of Rick's paintings are on permanent display on the 1st floor of the Hamersly Library:

  • Looking at You Hawk
  • Ol Bear and Crow
  • Large Amarylis
  • Oaxaca Poster

Quck Facts

  • There are 574 Federally recognized tribes which exist as "nations within a nation" and have formal government-to-government sovereign relationships with the U.S. Federal government.
  • Additionally, there are 63 tribes that are recognized at the State-level
  • While there are only 9 Federally recognized tribes in Oregon today, over 60 individual tribes resided in the area now considered the state of Oregon, with at least 18 distinct languages.
  • Chinuk Wawa, a trade language used by indigenous populations throughout the Pacific Northwest, still exists today. Lane Community College even offers classes.
  • Native Americans weren't considered U.S. Citizens until 1924.
  • Oregon has its own 'Trail of Tears'


In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

Click here to read the 2022 Presidential Proclamation on National Native American Heritage Month, 2022

Native American Heritage Month

According to the National Congress of American Indians, "The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges."


Some of the reasons Indigenous communities celebrate this year:


Some of the challenges facing Indigenous communities in Oregon include:

The Warm Spring Tribe's fight for drinkable water since 2019

Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls (#MMIW)

The impact of Covid-19 on Native communities

The dark history of Indian Boarding Schools and the Chemawa Indian School in Salem

Ways to Honor Indigenous Peoples During National Native American Heritage Month

Read the works of Native American authors

Check out the books/ebooks list in this libguide to see some of our newest holdings of titles by Native American authors. Some popular authors whose books we have copies of includes Tommy Orange, Joy Harjo, and Louise Erdrich.

Support Native-owned businesses

The Oregon Native American Chamber maintains a list of Native-owned businesses in Oregon. Other sites, like Beyond Buckskin have also compiled lists of Native-owned businesses throughout the United States.

Many businesses and corporations use phrases like 'Native-inspired' when describing products that take indigenous aesthetics and imagery and profit off of it. To fight back against Indigenous appropriation, groups like 'Eighth Generation' raise awareness of Native artists through their 'Inspired Natives' program.

"Support Inspired Natives, not Native Inspired"


Western Oregon University in Monmouth, OR is located within the traditional homelands of the Luckiamute Band of Kalapuya. Following the Willamette Valley Treaty of 1855 (Kalapuya etc. Treaty), Kalapuya people were forcibly removed to reservations in Western Oregon. Today, living descendants of these people are a part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon ( and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians (