Joy Harjo, narrator of the Emmy award-winning show Navajo Codetalkers and author of How We Became Human, will be the keynote speaker for Virginia Tech's celebration of American Indian Heritage Month. Harjo will give her presentation on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. in Colonial Hall, Squires Student Center. Sponsors of American Indian Heritage Month are the American Indian Cultural Association and Multicultural Programs, a functional area of the Office of Student Life and Advocacy.

After earning her B.A. at the University of New Mexico in 1976, Harjo gained international fame with her band "Joy Harjo and Poetic Justice" and their song-chant-jazz-tribal sound. Opening on tour for Bonnie Raitt, the Indigo Girls, and other well-known musicians, the band won recognition for its 1997 CD, Letter From the End of the Twentieth Century, a finalist in eight categories for the National Native Music Awards.

In addition to playing saxophone with her band, Harjo has published six books of poetry, including What Moon Drove Me to This, In Mad Love and War, and A Map to the Next World;. Her children's book The Good Luck Cat prompted the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers' to name her Writer of the Year.

Harjo is now a professor of English and American Indian studies at the University of California at Los Angeles. Her newest CD, Native Joy, was released last summer, and she is working on a book of stories, A Love Supreme;.

Other American Indian Heritage Month events include a Thursday evening film and discussion series, featuring Where the Spirit Lives on Nov. 6. The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Black Cultural Center, 126 Squires Student Center. For more information on these and other events, consult the American Indian Heritage Month website at http://www.mcp.vt.edu/calendars/nahm2003.shtml or contact Rosa Jones at 540/232-6023 or rosajones@vt.edu.

Written by Pamela R. Divine, a communications major at Virginia Tech