Holidays

11 Native American Heritage Month 2021 Events in Seattle

Indigenous Heritage Day with Khu.Éex', Native Art Markets, and More Ways to Celebrate in November
November 8, 2021
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Friday, November 26 is Indigenous Heritage Day. Celebrate at the High Dive with indigenous supergroup Khu.Éex'.
(Khu.éex')

November is Native American Heritage Month (and this comes as no surprise—it wasn't officially designated until 1990). Though recognizing and celebrating the contributions of Indigenous people is always important, this month is an especially good time for it. We've rounded up a list of events for the occasion below, from the United Indians Native Art Market and Duwamish Native Art Market and Holiday Gift Fair to a virtual talk with Louise Erdrich

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9

READINGS & TALKS

We the Indigenous
Hugo House will celebrate indigenous literary talent during this evening of readings, featuring Hugo House Fellow Scott Bentley, James Welch Prize for Indigenous Poets finalist Kalehua Kim, and Haida activist Sondra Segundo.
(Online)

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10

FILM

Powwow Highway with the Chief Seattle Club
Join the Chief Seattle Club for a special screening of this comedy about Buddy Row, a Native man who, in the midst of struggling to keep finance his Montana reservation, takes an adventure-filled road trip to New Mexico to rescue his sister, who's been arrested under mysterious circumstances.  
(Central Cinema)

READINGS & TALKS

Seattle Arts & Lectures Presents: Louise Erdrich
Pulitzer- and National Book Award-winning Louise Erdrich's work frequently focuses on Native American issues, and her brand-new novel, The Sentence, is no different. The novel "explores how the burdens of history, and especially identity, appropriation, exploitation, and violence done to human beings in the name of justice, manifest in ordinary lives today." The timely plot follows the owner of a Native bookstore in Minneapolis from November 2019 to November 2020 and will also appeal to fans of mysteries and ghost stories. As we've said before about Erdrich, "Those who are already fans of Erdrich's writing about the American plains and modern Native American life are already excited for this one; if you haven't read her before, you're about to enter a world unlike anything else you've ever seen."
(Online)

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16

COMMUNITY

The Neptune Centennial
As part of this free community celebration of STG's University District venue, there will be an "honoring of an art installation by indigenous artist Joseph H. (wahalatsu?) Seymour signifying the acknowledgment of the land once inhabited where the Neptune Theatre stands." Plus, expect a video presentation, drinks and snacks, and live music from Billy Joe & The Dusty 45s, Ron Artis II & The Truths, and more.  
(Neptune Theatre)

READINGS & TALKS

Matrilineal Matters: Contemporary Tlingit Artists & Beading Legacies with Dr. Megan A. Smetzer
The Burke writes, "The beading practices of Tlingit mothers and grandmothers from the 19th century onward, have been crucial to the richness and diversity of 21st century art practices in Southeast Alaska and beyond. This talk will consider some of the ways in which contemporary artists, working in a wide range of media, have incorporated both subtle and overt references to the powerful matrilineal legacies that contributed to cultural continuity and resilience in the face of laws and institutions meant to regulate and assimilate." 
(Online via Burke Museum)

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18

READINGS & TALKS

Historical Trauma and the Native American Boarding School Experience
The Burke writes, "Join Dr. Roberta 'Robbie' Paul (Nez Perce) in conversation with Burke Museum Director of Diversity, Equity, Access, Inclusion, & Decolonization and Tribal Liaison Polly Olsen (Yakama) live from the Burke Museum as they discuss the cultural and multigenerational effects of Indian boarding schools. Dr. Paul is the curator of Grandfather’s Trunk: Spirit of Survival, an exhibit documenting three generations of the Paul family and their experiences in Indian boarding schools beginning in 1880 with her grandfather, Jesse. During the program, Dr. Paul will share items and photos from the exhibit, followed by an opportunity for Q&A." 
(Online via Burke Museum)

NOVEMBER 20–21

FILM

Beans
This Canadian film from Mohawk director Tracey Deer is described as an "indigenous activist coming of age drama." Further: "Twelve-year-old Beans is on the edge: torn between innocent childhood and reckless adolescence; forced to grow up fast and become the tough Mohawk warrior she needs to be during the Oka Crisis, the turbulent Indigenous uprising that tore Quebec and Canada apart for 78 tense days in the summer of 1990."
(Northwest Film Forum)

SHOPPING

United Indians Native Art Market
The organizers write, "Our Native Art Market is the perfect place to find your holiday gifts and more. Many styles and tribes are represented, and just a few of the types of art displayed include clothing, jewelry, woodworking, drums, and art prints."
(Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center)

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26

MUSIC

Indigenous Heritage Day Celebration Featuring: Khu.Éex' & More
Jasmyne Keimig has written, "Headed up by Tlingit bassist/vocalist (and lauded glass artist) Preston Singletary, Khu.éex' (pronounced Koo-eex) are a supergroup composed largely of indigenous poets and musicians. Beginning as a chance meeting between Singletary and legendary funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell (Parliament-Funkadelic, Talking Heads), Khu.éex' combine far-out funk and jazz with spoken word and Great Native Northwest storytelling to present a contemporary interpretation of their culture to the world. Most recent EP Héen ('water' in Tlingit) deals with the importance of water to indigenous communities across the country." They'll headline this showcase of indigenous artists and performers, which will also feature Daisy Chain and Air Jazz.
(High Dive)

NOVEMBER 26–28

SHOPPING

November Native Art Market and Holiday Gift Fair
Fortify yourself with soup and fry bread for a day of shopping from Native vendors, who will be selling everything from wood carvings to drums to prints.
(Duwamish Longhouse)

THROUGH NOVEMBER 27

VISUAL ART

Luminosity: Northwest Native Glass Art
Check out the work of three indigenous master glass artists—Preston Singletary, Raven Skyriver, and Dan Friday—at this group show, which also falls during the Refract glass festival. Of Singletary, Jasmyne Keimig has written, "The work of Seattle artist Preston Singletary completely shifted my perception of what glass can look like and, most importantly, what glass can convey. Yes, Singletary is undoubtedly a master of form, color, and shape. He also has an immensely satisfying name. And he has harnessed the medium in a way that points away from the manufacture of cold objects and outward toward nature. His melding of his own Tlingit heritage to the European tradition of glass art brings the practice of glassblowing to an exciting new level." She's also written that Tlingit artist "Raven Skyriver’s work is in tune with the rhythm of ecosystems and animal life." Friday crafts exquisite sculptures based on Lummi material culture, like totem poles and, like one piece in this show is called, "Aunt Fran's Basket."   
(Stonington Gallery)