Native American

All About Native American Heritage Month And The Culture It Honors

National Native American Heritage month is celebrated annually in November to recognize Native American and Indigenous peoples

Native American drums for sale in an antique shop
Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images

November is National Native American Heritage Month, honoring the heritage of Native American and Indigenous peoples. It is also referred to as National American Indian Heritage Month or National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Here’s why the month is celebrated.

What is Native American Heritage month?

National Native American Heritage month is celebrated annually in November to recognize Native American and Indigenous peoples, the original inhabitants of what is now the United States. It has been honored since 1990, when President George H.W. Bush signed a joint resolution acknowledging the month.

The 1990 resolution said the goal of the designation is to having a month dedicated to provide “enhanced self-esteem, pride, and self-awareness to young Native American Indians.”

Why is Native American Heritage Month in November?

Per the resolution, Native American Heritage month is in November because the month of November “concludes the traditional harvest season of Native American Indians and was generally a time of celebration and giving thanks.”

What does Native American Heritage Month celebrate?

According to the National Congress of American Indians, the month is meant to celebrate the cultures, histories and contributions of Native people. It is also meant to educate people about Native culture and the challenges Native people have faced historically.

As the mythology around Christopher Columbus has been corrected, many are pushing to replace Columbus Day with a celebration of Indigenous Peoples' Day. A cultural strategist and diversity expert, Lauren Wesley Wilson, joined LX News to discuss the importance of recognizing the oppressed rather than celebrating their oppressors.

History of Native American Heritage Month

Since the early 1900s, many throughout the US have advocated for more holidays recognizing Native Americans. In 1915, the Congress of the American Indian Association approved a plan recognizing American Indian Day on the second Saturday of May. The first American Indian Day was celebrated in New York in 1916. Today, several states recognize Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day.

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