Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

November is National Native American Heritage Month, an observance of the culture and history of American Indians, Alaskan Natives and Native Hawaiian peoples.

On Veterans Day, November 11, 2020, the National Native American Veterans Memorial opened in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Watch this moving video for a greater understanding of the contribution Native Americans have made to our country through their military service. The virtual tour explains the significance of this memorial and pays homage to these veterans.

The observance of National Native American Heritage Month has been a long time coming. In 1916, one day was designated to celebrate American Indian Day; decades later, President George H.W. Bush designated the month of November as “National American Indian Heritage Month” in 1990. November has been recognized every year since 1994 as an opportunity to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures of Native Americans and to recognize the challenges they face both historically and currently.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2019 there were 6.9 million American Indians and Alaskan Natives, 142,972 of which are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, and there were 324 federally recognized American Indian Reservations. In 2020, there are 574 federally recognized Indian tribes.

Here are a few steps you can take to honor Indigenous groups:

  • Read the work of Native American authors. Click here for suggestions.
  • Support native-owned businesses and charities.
  • Visit the National Archives site here, for a more-in depth look at Native American records.