Indigenous Heritage Celebrations

Lacee Shepard

In an effort to highlight more students and get to know them better, the StratCom staff asked students to share their important holidays or traditions. As we approach Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we would like to highlight StratCom student Lacee Shepard. Lacee will graduate this spring with her degree and two graduate certificates (digital media and media analytics). Lacee recently shared that she is Odawa, and is a member of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, located in Harbor Springs. Here are a few important items that she wanted to highlight.

Indigenous Peoples Day

Monday, October 11, 2021, what was formally known as Columbus Day, is now recognized at Indigenous Peoples Day. Indigenous Peoples Day or Native American Day recognizes the survival of Indigenous people and that the Americas were first discovered by Native people and not Christopher Columbus.
Indigenous Peoples Day was official declared in Michigan in 2019 (Willingham & Andrew , 2020), but North Dakota was the first state to rename Columbus Day in 1990 ( Zotigh & Gokey, 2020). Hawaii followed, but changed the name to Discovers’ Day instead, to the Polynesian people of the islands ( Zotigh & Gokey, 2020). The movement to change the holidays name has been gaining momentum throughout US cities and states ever since. 


November is recognized at Native American Heritage month, also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.
This is a great time to learn more about the Native land you stand on and celebrate the rich and diverse cultures of Native people.  Since 1995, November has been recognized as Native American Heritage month, which evolved from a week-long celebration in 1986 (PBS. (n.d.).
A great way to recognize Native People is to learn about whose land you’re on:
Learn more about 

Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women’s Day

“On Jun 28, 2016, a collective from Montana created Senate Resolution 514- Declared May 5, 2017, National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls.” (Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, 2021)
The murder rates of Native women are 10 times higher than the national average. For ages 10-24, homicide is the third leading cause of death. For ages 25-34, it is the fifth leading cause. (Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, 2021). On May 5th every year we wear red in remembrance of the murdered and missing Indigenous women. 

If you would like to add to this list or share your story, we would love to hear from you. You can contact Daune Rensing at


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