Nilch'its'osi, or November, is Native American Heritage Month and Kean makes sure to celebrate it.

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Members of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council at Kean University.
Photo Courtesy of the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Natalia Andeliz

On Thursday, November 10, the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion hosted an event called Story and Stargaze. This event brought the Kean community together to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.

From 7 to 8 p.m., students attended a night filled with fresh air, stary skies and stories from special guests.

The speakers for the night were three members of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council. The council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating others about Native American heritage. At the event, the storytellers told great tales about nature and creation. 

One of the stories was about how a turtle contributed to Earth’s creation. Students found the tales to be exciting as it showed another’s perspective on how and why things were made. 

The storytellers also had dances to go with their stories. They even allowed students to join them in the performances. As everyone danced, instruments were played to contribute to the story.

One of the instruments played was a Love Flute. This flute was used to woo women and to express oneself in a way words could not. It is said that the person you play the flute to is the someone you will end up with. 

Students at the event received a free blanket to put on the grass while they looked at the stars and listened to stories. As the night came to an end, many reflected on the fun they had. 

“The event was wonderful,” said Kean Student Derek Martinez. “I think Kean needs to have more events where they bring other people from different backgrounds and cultures and have more voices being heard.”

The members of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council had the chance to tell Kean the true history of Thanksgiving and why it is so important that Native American Heritage Month is celebrated in Nilch'its'osi, or November. For the Wampanog Tribe, Thanksgiving is a day where they fast and mourn the genocide of their ancestors. Many tribes feel sorrow around this holiday. 

Native American Heritage Month is very important and this event was a great opportunity for their voices to be heard.