Native American Heritage Month
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November is Native American Heritage Month. This is a time to celebrate the unique and diverse Indigenous communities across the nation. It is a time to honor the hope, future, and resilience of Indigenous people.
The history of this heritage month began in 1991. Congress passed a resolution indicating that every November would be proclaimed as “American Indian Heritage Month,” and since then, every sitting president has signed a proclamation.
There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the U.S., according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and each tribe has its own regalia, culture, teachings, and traditions. There is no part of American history that not been impacted by Indigenous communities. The ways in which these communities have shaped history and the world around us predates the “founding” of this nation by centuries.
Despite painful histories of displacement, genocide, forced assimilation practices, and unjust Federal policies, Native peoples have persevered. However, it is long past time the time when Native communities should be forced to persevere. It is time for policies that empower and protect all Indigenous communities, and for a society that honors the people that were here first.
Part of honoring Native American Heritage month is to rethink the half-truths we learned in history books. By recognizing the truth, we can work towards building a future that is equitable and inclusive.
Within Native American communities there are countless individuals to recognize and celebrations to participate in.
November is a month to celebrate or become more educated about Native cultures. It is also to recognize that these traditions and legacies remain alive today— passed on with strength and carried into the future by generations to come.