National American Indian Heritage Month

November is National American Indian Heritage Month, a time to recognize the enormous contributions of America's first peoples.

As early as 1916, efforts began to honor Native Americans when the Governor of New York declared "American Indian Day." Over the years, many state and local jurisdictions have followed suit. In 1979, Congress passed a joint resolution calling for a "Native American Awareness Week." In 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared Nov. 23 - Nov. 30 as Native American Heritage Week, and in 1990, President George H.W. Bush dedicated the entire month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Subsequent presidents have annually issued similar proclamations honoring the nation's American Indian and Alaska Native people.

Federal, State, Tribal and local governmental representatives are urged to observe the month of November with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.

There are many great opportunities to celebrate the rich culture of Native America, including attending Powwows, festivals, art shows, pot lucks and gatherings; visiting tribal reservations; listening to storytellers; attending presentations given by tribal elders and leaders, and reading about American Indian tribes and culture.