November is Native American Heritage Month
"November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is commonly referred to, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. It 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." - National Congress of American Indians.
The History of Native American Heritage Month
For almost one hundred years, Americans, both Indian and non-Indian, have urged that there be a special place on the calendar permanently designated by the nation to honor the contributions, achievements, sacrifices, and cultural and historical legacy of the original inhabitants of what is now the United States.
A formal effort began in 1986, and was then known as National American Indian Heritage Month. Congress passed Pub. L. 99-471 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week of November 23-30, 1986 as "American Indian Week." As directed by Congress, President Reagan issued Presidential Proclamation 5577 in November 1986 proclaiming the first American Indian Week.
Learn more about the history of Native American Heritage Month by visiting the National Museum of the American Indian.
It is the first national museum dedicated to the preservation, study, and exhibition of the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of Native Americans. Established by an act of Congress in 1989, the museum works in collaboration with the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere to protect and foster their cultures by reaffirming traditions and beliefs, encouraging contemporary artistic expression, and empowering the Indian voice.