Since moving to the Pacific Northwest I’ve become more aware of Native American history and culture.
November is Native American Heritage Month. Native Americans began working toward recognition of American Indian Day as a national holiday in the U.S. as early as 1915. Although a few individual states sporadically pass resolutions to establish American Indian Day, the movement did not receive national recognition until President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution naming November 1990 as National American Indian Heritage Month.
Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.
The following institutions and organizations sponsor Native American Heritage Month and contribute to the web site:
- The Library of Congress
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- National Gallery of Art
- National Park Service
- Smithsonian Institution
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- U. S. National Archives andRecords Administration
The Native American Heritage Month’s main web site offers links to a large amount of related material presented by the several sponsoring institutions and organizations. There are links to exhibits and collections, images, and audio/video material.
There’s also a link from the main page to a page of resource links for teachers. But don’t let the designation “for teachers” keep you away. There’s a lot of information here appropriate for anyone looking to learn more about Native American contributions to the history and culture of the U. S.
Another important web site for information is the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), which describes Native American Heritage Month as follows:
November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is commonly referred to, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.
The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.
Other areas of this web site focus on policy issues, news, native youth, and partnerships and initiatives.