Native American Heritage Month
November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is commonly referred to, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.
It’s a time to celebrate the rich histories, diverse cultures and important contributions of our nation’s first people. This month allows us to spread awareness about tribes and to educate people about the various challenges faced by the Native Americans in the past and today.
National Native American Month started off as an effort to get a day of appreciation and acknowledgment for the unique contributions made by the first Americans for the growth and establishment of the United States. The effort has now resulted in a whole month being celebrated for that purpose.
Dr. Arthur C. Parker was one of the first supporters of having an American Indian Day. He was a Seneca Indian and the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, New York. He was also the one to convince the Boy Scouts of America to create a day for the Native Americans – the Boy Scouts adopted this day for three days.
In 1915, a plan concerning American Indian Day was formally approved in the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting. The president of the American Indian Association, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, called upon the country to observe this day.
The first time American Indian Day was declared was in May 1916. In 1990, a joint resolution was approved by George H.W. Bush, which called for November to be named National American Heritage Month. Declarations like these have been issued since 1994, such as Native American Heritage Month and National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.
Learn more about and support Native American Heritage Month with these resources:
• Adult Book | Braiding Sweetgrass: As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise.”
• Children’s Book | Fry Bread: Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner and Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal.
• Podcast | Coffee with My Ma: The host, Kaniehtiio Horn, a First Nations actress, spends each episode interviewing her “Radical Activist Mother,” Kahentinetha Horn, a prominent Mohawk activist and hilarious woman whose life has led her into some unbelievable adventures.
• Nationwide Native Owned Businesses | 20 Indigenous and Native-Owned Businesses you need to know about.
• Locally Owned and Operated Construction Business | Three Feathers Construction is a Native American owned company specializing in reinforcing steel installation services for major concrete construction projects across Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Founded in 2009, 3-Feathers Construction has been able to achieve increasing market share, revenue growth and sustained profitability while creating in excess of 50 well-paying jobs. 3-Feathers is a Native American owned business with MBE and DBE designations.