MISSION, OR - Cultural events are ramping up at Nixyaawii Community School in Mission Oregon, in honor of Native American Heritage Month.

The Conferderated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation is made up of three tribes: the Umatilla, Cayuse and Walla Walla Tribes.

Today, the tribe has over 2,800 members. The Umatilla are governed by a board of trustees made up of nine members elected by the general council. And their tribal headquarters are located in Mission, just outside Pendleton, Oregon.

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Music plays an essential role in the life of native Americans. It is used for ceremonial purposes, recreation, expression and healing.

There are many different instruments used when making Native American music, but the most important element of their music is the voice.

To celebrate National American Heritage Month, take a listen to Latis Nowland, a senior at Nixyaawii Community School.

Vocals are the backbone of the music made in Native American Culture.