Written by Tímea Koppándi
Before I go on and tell you more about what you can do to celebrate Native American Heritage Month, I would like to give you a little bit of context.
At the beginning of the 20th century, many North American Indigenous peoples advocated for official recognition of the communities’ efforts in the establishment and growth of the USA. One of the first to voice the idea of an ‘American Indian Day’ was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca man, who persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to put aside a day for the ‘First Americans’ which was celebrated for three years. There have been many efforts made by several Indigenous peoples to establish such a day, some of which include Rev. Sherman Coolidge, Red Fox James and the Congress of the American Indian Association. In August 1990, President George W. Bush has declared the month of November as the National American Indian Heritage Month, however, this has been commonly referred to as Native American Heritage Month.
Despite the fact that this celebration has its beginnings and establishment in the USA, I think it’s a great opportunity to celebrate and uplift Indigenous communities, cultures and voices from all around the America’s!
So, here are some of the things you should look out for:
The Native American Heritage Month Events:
On their website, you will find various talks centred around Indigenous arts, cinema, literature and veteran commemoration.
BBC’s ‘The Documentary: Missing and Murdered: America’s Forgotten Native Girls’
Read Bravery’s issue
About Susan la Flesche Picotte, the first Native American Doctor and Omaha tribe member. Bravery is a magazine aimed at educating and inspiring kids by showing empowering female figures all across the globe.
Penguin’s list of Indigenous written books (with some additions by me below!)
Browse the Native American Heritage Month reading list, and the Must-read Books by Indigenous Authors. Here are some of my recommandations: 'Codetalker' by Chester Nez, 'Sabina&Corina' by Kali Fajardo-Anstine, 'There There' by Tommy Orange, 'Imaginary Borders' by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and 'An American Sunrise: Poems' by Joy Harjo.
Listen to Illuminative’s Spotify
A playlist for the Native American Heritage Month.
Check out the exhibitions and events
from the National Hispanic Heritage Month’s website.
Please head over here for more information about the struggles Indigenous peoples are currently facing, and what you can do to help!
Did you know:
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada
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If you think I missed something, please let me know! You can contact me via my website or email (which is also on my website).
Photo credits to Indiana University (Getty Images), Bravery Magazine and Penguin Random House Publishing.