Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Pacific Islander Heritage Series

Main content start
Alcatraz Sunrise

Indigenous Peoples' Day

Every year, students honor Indigenous Peoples' Day with a vigil at White Plaza and by attending the Bay Area Indigenous Peoples' Day Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz

Native Awareness Heritage Month calendar

Native Heritage Month

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S. has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

One of the very first proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the "First Americans" and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.

The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.

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.

Stanford Luau

Stanford Pacific Cultural Fest

 The Stanford Pacific Cultural Fest (PCF) is a celebration of Hawaiian and Polynesian culture put on by Hui o Na Moku Club in conjunction with Kaorihiva, with support from ASSU. PCF features traditional and local-style Hawaiian food, live music performances, and traditional Polynesian dances such as hula and Tahitian. Held annually in spring quarter, PCF honors and celebrates the often under-represented indigenous cultures of Polynesia, as well as the local culture and cuisine of HawaiĘ»i, helping to increase their visibility on campus and spread awareness to the Stanford community.

Stanford Powwow Video

Annual Stanford Powwow
May, Mothers' Day Weekend

With the guidance of NACC professional staff, the Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO) and the Stanford Powwow Planning Committee host the Annual Stanford Powwow during Mothers' Day Weekend on the Stanford University campus. For more information, visit the Stanford Powwow website.

Click here to watch: 46th Annual Stanford Powwow - (Student Reflections Video)