A month to celebrate Native Americans, their culture, and their contributions to the United States. Since 2009, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been established as "Native American Heritage Day."
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, the last are also known as 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.
On the 2010 U.S. Census form, respondents could self-identify if they belong to one or more races. 2.9 million reported Native American or Alaska Native alone; another 2.3 million reported Native American or Alaska Native in combination with one or more other races. This forms 1.7% of the total U.S. population.
There are 563 federally recognized tribal governments in the United States. The largest groups are the Navajo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Sioux (Lakota), Chippewa (Ojibwa), Apache, Blackfeet, Iroquois, and Pueblo.
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 Bureau of Indian Affairs website.
Some sites for further information about the Native American community:
American Indian Heritage Month (Infoplease) - Famous firsts, biographies, facts and stats about tribes and reservations.
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.
Ways to Celebrate Native American Heritage Month (American Indian College Fund)
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: usgs.gov
Some books and e-books in our collection related to Native Americans include (selections: NF) :