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National Native American Heritage Month: Honoring the Culture, Traditions of AIAN Ancestors

National Native American Heritage Month has evolved from its beginnings as a week-long celebration to a full 30 days every year. Let’s celebrate Indigenous culture by learning about the remarkable heritage our ancestors left us.

The contributions of Indigenous peoples to American culture are endless: dance, music, foods — and so much more! November is the perfect time to educate anyone and everyone about the overflowing history of resilience.

Leaders and figures like Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Sacagawea and Pocahontas paved the way with their dedication, hard work and quick instinct. It’s a great time to think about the ones who came before us and what they taught us. Let’s acknowledge their accomplishments by doing one of the following below:

  1. Read a book: A Native American history book or novel that dives into the history of Indian Country is a great start to further educate yourself on the diverse past Indigenous people faced. 
  2. Play a game of lacrosse: Originally known as stickball, lacrosse was created by the  Algonquian tribe of St. Lawrence Valley in the 12th century.
  3. Watch an accurate movie: Instead of sensationalized stories loosely based on Native American history such as Disney’s Pocahontas, consider watching Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, a critically-acclaimed novel turned movie that still stands the test of time.
  4. Try an Indigenous recipe: There are tons of cultural recipes that are just as mouth watering as they are delicious. Our favorite: Three Sisters Soup!
  5. Attend a powwow, celebration, or a ceremony: If this is your first time, get familiar with proper powwow etiquette before you attend!

Another way to celebrate Native American Heritage Month is to honor Indigenous ancestors by planting flowers. Whether you house them in your own yard or community garden, planting flowers that are native to your area is a great way to honor those who are no longer here.

However you celebrate, or educate yourself, be sure to pass the information onto family and friends and make it a group effort. We can all learn something this month to carry on throughout our lives. 

Our Native American ancestors did so much for us. Now, it’s our time to do things for them — honor their sacrifices by remembering them and what they wanted to teach us.