Celebrating National Native American Heritage Month
The month of November is recognized as National Native American Heritage Month. This month commemorates the history, heritage, and culture of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives. It is during this month we acknowledge the vast achievements of America’s original indigenous people.
In 1914, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians; he was also known as Red Fox Skiuhushu. In December of the following year, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House, however, there is no record of such a national day being proclaimed during that time in our history.
Held on the second Saturday of May 1916, the governor of New York declared the first “American Indian Day” on record. Several states followed with celebrations held on the fourth Friday in September of the same year. Several states designated Columbus Day as “Native American Day,” but it continued to be a day observed without any recognition as a national legal holiday.
In 1986, the U.S. Congress passed a proclamation authorizing “American Indian Week,” and in 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” From 1990 onward, presidential proclamations have been issued annually to celebrate the heritage and culture of Native Americans.
Today, 28 states and many cities, rivers and lakes have names derived from Native American heritage. Native Americans and Alaska Natives are people having origins in any of the original peoples of North, South, and Central America, and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment. According to the U.S. Census, there were 5.2 million American Indians and Alaskan Natives living in the U.S. in 2010. By 2020, that figure grew to 7.1 million. There are projected to be 10.1 million American Indians and Alaskan Natives living in the U.S. by July 2060.
Additionally, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives have a unique relationship with the federal government due to historic conflict and subsequent treaties. To date, there are 574 federally recognized tribes and 324 Native American reservations recognized tribes across the U.S.
The following are great resources for both Native Americans and allies to honor this month through culture, advocacy, and financial support.
- Land Acknowledgements Are Not Enough
- The Myth of the Thanksgiving Story
- Everything you learned is wrong
- Related terms to avoid
- My culture is not your costume
Donate / Campaigns
Absorb: Books, Art, TV, Music
Mediation – Native American Meditation for Spiritual Healing
Flute – Jessita Reyes
Nanyehi – Beloved Woman of the Cherokee – Music from the rock opera inspired by the life of Nanyehi. Written by Cherokee songwriter and playwright, Becky Hobbs.
Rap – N8v Ace
Supaman– Dancer and Hip Hop artist
Prolific The Rapper– Hip Hop
Keith Secola– Native Folk and Blues
Nahko– Rock / Folk
Debora Iyall– Singer and Guitarist of famous 80’s rock band “Romeo Void.”
Social Media Accounts to Follow
Do you know that it’s illegal to market art or craftwork using the name of a tribe if a member, or certified Indian artisan, of that tribe, did not actually create the art or craftwork? This happens all too often and takes away from true Native American artists and small businesses.
This is just a small list of some Native-owned businesses where you can find everything from skincare, fashion, and home goods:
Photo courtesy of Beyond Buckskin