Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

In November we are highlighting the culture, history, and traditions of the America’s tribal people in celebration of Native American Heritage Month.

Lilly Lewis | Marketing Ambassador at the University of Texas at Dallas

“I am a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. My tribe is part of the Nishnabek Indigenous groups that originated in the Great Lakes and Canada. We were relocated to Shawnee, Oklahoma during the Potawatomi Trail of Death. Potawatomi people are referred to as, “the People in the Fire,” which I think is a great metaphor for the things that we had to overcome. What started out as a group of people who were left in the middle of nowhere with nothing has grown into a strong nation of scientists and doctors and teachers and advocates who are taking on the world every single day.

One of the most amazing thing about the Potawatomi culture is words and things that are inanimate in Western language are animated in Potawatomi language. For example, “demen” which is a strawberry, can also be “ode min” which is a heart berry. That takes the food that we are eating and makes it so much more than that – suddenly it’s a ceremony and celebration within itself.”


Melissa Garcia | Assistant Retail Director at the University of New Mexico

“My name is Melissa Garcia. I am from the Pueblo Santa Ana, also known as the Maya Pueblo. As Pueblo people we have many traditions. Most of them include different Pueblo foods, and singing and dancing. One of my favorite foods to eat is our Pueblo Oven Bread. It is still made like our ancestors did back in the day. We knead our own bread with our hands and let it rise overnight and we cook it outside in our wood-burning horno.

Santa Ana Pueblo growing up on the reservation was a very small-knit community, which we still are today. It’s less than 1,000 people and tribal members. We have built from the bottom up. We have a couple of gas stations, we have two golf courses, 5-star dining, and we also have the Hyatt Tamaya which resides on our land and is very beautiful.”