A month to celebrate Native Americans, their culture, and their contributions to the United States. Despite designation of days and then weeks, the first National American Indian Heritage Month was in November 1990 per proclamation by President George H.W. Bush. Similar proclamations have lately been National Native American Heritage Month. A full history with all the names of the bills and proclamations can be found in the Library of Congress page. In 2021, President Biden became the first President to declare Indigenous People's Day (second Monday of October) as a national holiday. Since 2009, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been established as "Native American Heritage Day", but there is some concern as it is the same day as Black Friday (start of holiday shopping season).
Native Americans (also known as Indians or American Indians) describe the indigenous peoples of the mainland United States, along with Alaska natives (Aleut, Yup'k, or Inuits [Eskimos]). According to a 1995 Census survey, more Native Americans preferred the term American Indian to Native American. Nevertheless, all three terms are used interchangeably. Recent surveys state name of tribe (such as Cherokee) is a better term than an overall term. The best things to do are listen to how individual(s) describe themsleves or ask what term the individual(s) would like.
On the 2020 U.S. Census form, respondents could self-identify if they belong to one or more races. 7.1 million reported Native American or Alaska Native alone or in combination with one or more races. This forms 2.1% of the total U.S. population.
There are 574 federally recognized tribal governments in the United States. The largest groups are the Navajo (Dineh), Cherokee, Sioux (Lakota), Chippewa (Ojibwa), Choctaw, Apache, Lumbee, Creek, Pueblo, Iroquois, Blackfeet, and Chickasaw.
Some sites for further information about the Native American community:
5 Ways to (Respectfully) Celebrate American Indian Heritage Month (Foxx Tales)
American Indian Heritage Month (Infoplease) - Famous firsts, biographies, facts and stats about tribes and reservations.
Celebrate Native American Heritage Month (U.S. Department of Interior)
National Register of Historic Places Program : National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month
National Museum of the American Indian - Opened in 2004 in Washington D.C. and with satellite facilities in New York City and Suitland, Maryland.
Native American Heritage Month (Library of Congress)- Overview, exhibits, collections,images, audio/video, travel itineraries, and veterans' project.
Native American Heritage Month (National Congress of American Indians) - Policy issues, news, resources, tribal directory, initiatives, and other activities.
The following is a map of Native American cultural areas with names of some of the tribes representative to different areas of North America:
photo source: lochgarry.woodpress.com
Did you know: Alabama is the name of the tribe that lived in the Montgomery area (Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers intersect).
photo source: goiam.org
Some books and e-books in our collection related to Native Americans include (selections: NF) :