Native American Heritage Month 2021

November is recognized as National American Indian Heritage Month! The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.

This year, Moundville Archaeological Park is celebrating Native American Heritage Month with an exhibit, a 5K race, a basketry activity, an astronomy night, and an American Indian Film Festival!


The Millennia of Movement Exhibit will be at the UA Student for Native American Heritage Month.
The Millennia of Movement Exhibit will be at the UA Student for Native American Heritage Month.

Join Moundville Archaeological Park’s celebration of Native American Heritage Month by visiting the Millennia of Movement exhibit from November 1st – December 17th, located at the Intercultural Diversity Center at the UA Student Center, Room 2100.

The exhibit explores the idea of movement in and on cultural landscapes, using ancient and contemporary Native American examples from the Southeast.  This through-line from the past to the present will highlight the dynamic and enduring Native connection to vast natural landscapes. It will engage visitors by answering broad questions such as what types of things move and moved on these landscapes (objects, ideas, people) , how do/did they move on landscapes (water travel, roads/paths, oral communication), and why do/did they move in these ways (subsistence, power, religion, wealth, and most importantly, identity). It will highlight archaeologically identified examples of movement such as trade, exchange, and the movement of ideas through symbols we call iconography. It will also highlight contemporary Southeastern cultures, many displaced involuntarily during the Indian Removal period. Here, we will still focus on the persistence of identity and culture between tribes removed to Oklahoma and elsewhere, and those that remained in traditional regions. These include the Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Creek among others.

John Brown from the Muscogee Nation will also be in the Intercultural Diversity Center on November 1-3 from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM to interpret the canoe and other items that he has made for the exhibit.

We will also have a display at the Tuscaloosa Public Library to celebrate Native American Heritage Month and encourage patrons to check out books by Native American authors.
Many thanks to the Department of Equity and Inclusion Intercultural Diversity Center and all those who participated in this exhibit.

Moundville 5K

Celebrate five years of the Moundville 5K Footrace with us! This year, we will celebrate in person for Native American Heritage Month! Whether you run or walk in Moundville Archaeological Park, the Moundville 5k Footrace is an ideal way to participate. Proceeds will go to the Moundville Education fund. Participants will receive a free t-shirt. This is a Tuscaloosa Track Club Grand Prix Event.


The Moundville 5K Footrace will take place on November 6, 2021 at 9:00 AM.

Badge Pick-Up starts at 8:30 AM.

Registration Information:


Moundville Archaeological Park is located at 634 Mound State Parkway, Moundville, AL 35474-6413.

Masks MUST be worn inside the museum. Participants, please park at the Conference Center and walk towards the startline and registration table.

Runners Will Receive:

  • T-Shirt
  • Downloadable Finisher Certificate
  • Race Bib
  • Free Admission Into Moundville Archaeological Park
  • A Curated YouTube Playlist of Tribal Artists

After your 5K is completed, make sure to share your experience with Moundville Archaeological Park on social media by using the hashtag: #Moundville5K

Stargazing at Moundville

Join us at Moundville Archaeological Park on November 9th 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM for stargazing and to learn about Native American history and culture. Many thanks to Dr. William Keel and The University of Alabama Astronomy Department for helping us host the night. Please park at Mound B.

Food for Thought: Mary Smith

On November 10th from Noon – 1:00 PM, The University of Alabama Department of Equity and Inclusion will be hosting award-winning Native American artist, Mary Smith, at the Intercultural Diversity Center Ferguson Center Room 2100.

American Indian Film Festival

The American Indiana Film Festival is planned for November 17-18, 2021, with films shown from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM on both days at The University of Alabama Student Center Theater. This film festival will include films from the Chickasaw Nation, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Eastern Band of Cherokee and more. Amy Bluemel, Chickasaw storyteller, will be the MC for both evenings.

Thank you to all of the collaborators: Office of Archaeological Research  SGA, Department of History, Department and Anthropology, and Department of Equity and Inclusion.

UA Student Field Trip to Birmingham Museum of Art

On November 23rd at 9:00 AM, University of Alabama Students are invited to go on a field trip to the Birmingham Museum of Art to see the Lost Realms of the Moundbuilders: Ancient Native Americans of the South and Midwest exhibit!

UA Students sign-up for a free tour and are asked to meet at Smith Hall.

More than 1000 years ago, Alabama was home to the Mississippian civilization, one of the largest and most important Native American cultures ever to exist. This ancient civilization, also known as the Moundbuilders, created an empire comparable to that of the Aztec, Mayan and Incan cultures. The Mississipian Moundbuilders were responsible for some of the first ever man-made monuments in North America, massive platform mounds constructed by hand. Beyond this earthen architecture, the Mississippian Moundbuilders also produced remarkable works of art and material culture including intricate jewelry, detailed pottery and sculpture, sophisticated weapons, and more.

Lost Realms of the Moundbuilders: Ancient Native Americans of the South and Midwest, explores the fascinating archaeology and history of the Mississippian Moundbuilders, their religious and ceremonial activities, farming and hunting practices, trade networks, and their highly-developed social, political and religious centers. The exhibition highlights the relationships between the historic ceremonial sites and other contemporaneous Indigenous communities in North and Central America, and illustrates how ecological factors, specifically the occurrence of the “Little Ice Age” beginning in 1350 AD and lasting until 1650 AD may have led to the decline and ultimate abandonment of Moundbuilder sites.

Organized by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma, the exhibition features 175 historic objects from four major Mississippian Moundbuilder sites: The Spiro Mounds in Oklahoma, Moundville in Alabama, Etowah Mounds in Georgia, and Cahokia Mounds in East Saint Louis, Illinois. The exhibition also showcases contemporary Indigenous works of art that connect the art and artistry of the Mississippian Moundbuilder peoples to their modern descendants.

Lost Realms of the Moundbuilders: Ancient Native Americans of the South and Midwest (originally titled Spiro and the Art of the Mississippian World) is organized by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Basketry Activity

Moundville Archaeological Park invites you to weave your own basket during Native American Heritage Month using paper plates and yarn! Materials will be available at the Jones Archaeological Museum at Moundville Archaeological Park during the month of November!

To weave your own basket, make sure to download the Basketry Activity Instructions and the Weaving Template.

Thanks to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for this lesson plan!