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Weekend Recs: Native American Heritage Month

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Memorial Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. 

The beginning of November marks the start of Native American Heritage Month. Before European colonization and genocide, the Americas had a thriving expanse of Indigenous cultures and communities, including the Philadelphia region. Centuries later, Pennsylvania remains one of the few states that does not include a reservation or officially recognize an Indigenous tribe within its borders, despite its Indigenous history. In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, this weekend’s recs seek to elevate Indigenous and Native American content and voices.

If you have 23 seconds…and want to check out an Indigenous activist and content creator, watch this TikTok from IndigenousIcon.

If you have 50 seconds…and are curious about the braids that some Native American cultures wear, watch this TikTok. In some Indigenous cultures, hair is extremely important, and the three strands of a braid represent mind, body, and spirit.

If you have 5 minutes…and don’t know about the horrific history of Indigenous residential schools in the US, read this article in TIME. This article gives key background and perspective on these brutal “schools.”

If you have another 5 minutes…and haven’t heard about the upcoming challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act, read this article. It provides some explanation about the law and why it is so important for it to be upheld.

If you have 7 minutes…and are interested in climate activism, read this article about Indigenous climate action from the New York Times. This opinion piece, which discussed the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, emphasizes the importance of centering Indigenous voices in climate change activism.

If you have another 7 minutes…and want to learn more about the history of the Indigenous people native to Philadelphia, read this article about the Lenape. The greater Philadelphia area, including Villanova, has a rich indigenous history and rests on Lenape land.

If you have 10 minutes…and want to learn about the ongoing Lenape struggle to be welcomed and recognized in Pennsylvania, read this article. (This article also helps shed further light on the situation).

Bonus: if you want to read about local efforts, read about this initiative Ursinus College, my alma mater, started to help Lenape people reconnect with their roots.

If you have 42 minutes…and want to hear some Native American perspectives on the history of Thanksgiving, listen to “The Thanksgiving Episode” of the Toasted Sister Podcast. This podcast, created and hosted by Andi Murphy, centers on Native American food and chefs, blending discussions of Indigenous history, culture, and experience with culinary expertise.

If you have 1 hour and 30 minutes…and want to watch a Native American cult classic, watch Smoke Signals, available through Falvey’s DVD Collection. Although the film is not perfect by any means, it’s an enjoyable coming-of-age film that allowed Indigenous people to see themselves in theaters and on screen in the late 1990s.

Bonus: if you want to watch some other Indigenous-made films, check out this list.

If you have a free weekend…and want to binge-watch a highly praised Indigenous-made television show, watch Reservation Dogs. This crime dramedy, created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, features of host of talented Indigenous actors and production team and follows a California-bound group of Native American teenagers.


Annie Stockmal is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library.


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Last Modified: November 4, 2022