Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Alumni Resources for Native American Heritage Month

native american man
Photo by Los Muertos Crew

Traditions, art, and stories reflect the contemporary diversity and long history of America’s Indigenous peoples. Celebrate the history, culture, and community of Native people with the following resources.

Being part of a community means actively engaging the unique perspectives of our many members on their own terms and through their own voices. These programs, resources, and involvement opportunities represent only a portion of what Rutgers has to offer as a beloved community and is not intended to be an exhaustive list. They are all part of the university’s commitment to help students, alumni, faculty, staff, and partners work together to embody, reflect, and respect the complexities of all our parts.

Stay Informed

Find out how Rutgers’ faculty, students, and publications advance knowledge and give a voice to issues that impact the community.

Article: Bringing a Native American Perspective to American Studies

Meet Jameson “Jimmy” Sweet, the first Native American professor in the Department of American Studies at Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s School of Arts and Sciences. His family has roots in the Lakota and Dakota tribes of the upper Midwest. Here, he shares how his ancestors inspired him to take the career path he’s on today—and how he plans to build a core group of scholars at Rutgers who are interested in the study of Indigenous peoples.

Program: Honor Native Land

Rutgers sits on the traditional territory of the Lenni Lenape, called “Lenapehoking.” This page provides resources for offices and event planners who wish to use the practice of land acknowledgment in a respectful, thoughtful manner. To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory you reside on and a way of honoring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. Learn more and find more resources on the Honor Native Land site of the University Equity and Inclusion office. You will also find non-Rutgers resources for continued learning and engagement. A brief video explains #HonorNativeLand and its goals.

Book series: The Scarlet and Black Project: An Exploration of the African American and Native American Experience at Rutgers

The Scarlet and Black Project is a historical exploration of the experiences of two disenfranchised populations, African Americans and Native Americans, at Rutgers. Scarlet and Black, Volume 1: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History tells the story of the Lenni Lenape Indians who were mostly displaced from New Jersey decades before the university’s founding. It also tells of those few who still lived in Central New Jersey when Queen’s College was founded and how its youth were sent to an Indian boarding school in Connecticut rather than being welcomed at the college. This three-volume book series is available from Rutgers University Press and as an open access ebook.

Video: Sharing the Continuing Story of Indigenous Peoples in New Jersey

This webinar, recorded on July 23, 2021, was the first in the New Jersey’s Indigenous Voices series, a program of free virtual educational events that seek to facilitate a deeper and more accurate public understanding of Indigenous history and life in the region now known as New Jersey. It addresses the history and continuity of tribal communities in the region and beyond. Featured speakers include Heather Bruegl, director of cultural affairs, Stockbridge Munsee Band of Mohican Indians; Claire Garland, executive director, Sand Hill Indian Historical Association; the Rev. John Norwood, principal justice of the Tribal Supreme Court, Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation; and Maria De Freece Lawrence, professor of education, Rhode Island College. The panel was moderated by Jameson Sweet, assistant professor of American studies, Rutgers–New Brunswick.

Video: A Dream of Kikeokàn/Kuponya: Black and Native American Healing at Rutgers University

Rutgers’ Black Student Union and the Cultural Center Collaborative united to celebrate Black History Month and honor Native American heritage in January 2021. The theme—”A Dream of Kikeokàn/Kuponya: Black and Native American Healing”—is centered in the healing practices of both the Black and Lenni Lenape people. Kikeokàn and Kuponya (Lenape and Swahili terms, respectively) both translate to the English word “healing.” Black and Indigenous people have experienced structural violence, countless acts of injustice, and trauma in recent history. The featured keynote speakers, Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway, Cornel West, and the Rev. John Norwood, bring awareness to the history of individual struggles and the resiliency of social justice movements.

Get Involved

Connect with Rutgers alumni, expand your social and professional networks, or offer advice to students by getting involved with an alumni group that is meaningful to you.

RU Indigenous Turtle Island Club

Turtle Island is the name Indigenous people use to refer to the lands that are commonly called North America and South America. The club welcomes students and alumni of all backgrounds, Native or not, to learn about and participate in Indigenous culture, history, and issues. The club’s mission is to

  • provide a greater understanding of Indigenous culture
  • enable Natives to get in touch with their culture
  • enable non-Natives to engage in Indigenous cultural practices
  • provide awareness of issues affecting the Indigenous community
  • facilitate networking between Indigenous students, professors, and Indigenous tribes and organizations

Support a Fund

Connect with the causes and communities you care about most by supporting the advancement of research, access, and awareness. You can search for any fund you would like to support and give to make an impact, such as the Scarlet and Black Book Fund, which supports Black and Native American students.

This resource guide is part of the Diversity Matters Series, which seeks to openly explore different perspectives by thoughtfully recognizing the beauty of individual differences as honored through a collective experience rooted in acknowledgment, understanding, and celebration.