Recent News at Kluge-Ruhe

Charlottesville Celebrates First Indigenous Peoples Day • Thursday October 5, 2017

In the past the second Monday of each October has been recognized as Columbus Day.  The City Council of Charlottesville recently made the decision to recognize this day as Indigenous Peoples Day.  Indigenous Peoples Day is a holiday celebrated in at least fifty U.S. cities and municipalities to honor and acknowledge the past and continuous presence of Native people in the Americas. It began before 1992 as a protest of Columbus Day, with Native groups contending that Columbus did not “discover” them—they were already here—and that the actions of Columbus and his men were not only less than heroic toward their ancestors, but that they committed genocide while invading and stealing their land.  With this historic change in Charlottesville, Kluge-Ruhe would like to share some ways to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day!

Ways to Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on your Own


  • the exhibition Hear My Voice: Native American Art of the Past and Present at  the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond
  • the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of UVA in Charlottesville
  • the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
  • the Fralin Museum of Art’s Object Study Gallery

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS by learning about local Indigenous people

  • Charlottesville’s Indigenous people are the Monacan Nation
  • visit or support the Monacan Ancestral Museum in Amherst
  • Check out the Virginia Indian Heritage Trail to learn about the tribes in Virginia

EDUCATE  yourself and others

  • An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz,
  • Off the Reservation by Paula Gunn Allen
  • Everything You Know About Indians is Wrong by Paul Chaat Smith
  • Playing Indian by Philip Deloria
  • The Round House by Louise Erdrich
  • Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South by Melinda Maynor Lowery
  • Reinventing the Enemy’s Language edited by Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird
  • The Woman Who Watches Over the World by Linda Hogan
  • Soul Work edited by Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley and Nancy Palmer Jones
  • Learn about the harmful effects of Indian mascots as names of sports teams
     For more resources, check out the American Indian Library Association.

COUNTER  the dominant message in schools that Native peoples are history

  • AICL: American Indians in Children’s Literature blog
  • Why You Can’t Teach United States History Without American Indians by Juliana Barr and Susan Sleeper-Smith
  • Through Indian Eyes: The Native Experience in Books for Children by Doris Seale and Beverly Slapin
  • A Broken Flute by Doris Seale and Beverly Slapin
  • Want to go further?  Create a task force to find out what your children learn about Columbus and American Indians in school. Write letters to address your concern!
    WATCH  films related to Indigenous heritage or films made by Indigenous people
  • attend the Pocahontas Reframed: Native American Storytellers Film Festival, November 17 – 19 at the Byrd Theatre in Richmond
  • buy tickets to see the film Rumble at the Virginia Film Festival, which is a film about Native American musicians and rock ‘n roll
  • Reel Injun is a film about how Native people have been misrepresented in American cinema
  • anything by Native filmmaker Sterlin Harjo is a good idea
  • the groundbreaking feature film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner is a fantastic Inuit film

SUPPORT  organizations that support Indigenous people

  • Give to the Virginia Indian Heritage Program at VFH (specify in the Instructions field)
  • Become a member of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of UVA
  • Buy fashion created by Native American designers at Beyond Buckskin’s online store
  • Support Native booksellers by buying from Birchbark Books or the North American Native Authors Catalog
  • Give to one of the following organizations: American Indian Business Leaders, American Indian College Fund, American Indian Higher Education Consortium, American Indian Policy Center, Association of American Indian Affairs, Indian Country Today, National Alaska Native American Nurses Association, National Indian Child Care Association, National Indian Council on Aging, Native American Art Council, Naive American Business Alliance, Native American Capital, Native American Disability Law Center, Native American Financial Official Association, Native American Journalists Association, Native American Public Telecommunications, Native American Rights Fund, The Native American Times, National Native American AIDS Prevention Center, National Native American Bar Association, National Native American Law Enforcement Association, Native Peoples Magazine, Women Empowering Women for Indian Nations.

Ways not to celebrate

The list below contains some common forms of cultural misappropriation that are offensive:  

  • Dressing up, or encouraging children to dress up, like Indigenous people, especially at Halloween.
  • Giving yourself an “Indian name” or “creating your own tribe.”
  • Doing an art project that includes copying or “borrowing” Indigenous designs.
  • Wearing “Indian-inspired” clothing. Some stores sell “Navajo-inspired” designs, imitations of South Asian accessories, and decorations labeled “Japanese” from Urban Outfitters.
  • Creating your own “ceremony” that imitates Indigenous ceremonies or traditions.
  • reading Native American prayers aloud in a group if you are non-Indigenous

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