How can we respectfully and with gratitude recognize and celebrate Native American Heritage Day and Native American Heritage Month? Simple answer: We can act in such a way that future generations will be thankful for what we have done to uplift the human spirit.
Some things we can do: Take note of where we are, what land we are on, and make ourselves aware of the Native Americans who lived on the land long before us. What is their name; what is their story; where did they live and how? What was their culture and what is their art?
Quite possibly the land you’re on was occupied, managed, and maintained by Indigenous people and tribes. Land is sacred and important to all of us — whether we know it or not. Learn about the land you’re on. Honor the people who were there before you and respect the environment.
It’s enjoyable to learn as much as you can by viewing Native American art. An Internet search can take you a number of artists and art galleries. An enjoyable website featuring contemporary artists can be found HERE. The Denver Art Museum was one of the first art museums in the U.S. to start collecting Indigenous art, and as a result, their collection is both extensive and enlightening. You can view some of their beautiful collection HERE.
Once again, an Internet search of YouTube can take you to a wealth of learning. One can find documentaries of the history, music, chants, dances, and stories posted by individual “You-Tubers.” There is so much to learn – how they lived, what they experienced, what life is like right now. This documentary, “The True Ancient Origins Of The Native Americans | 1491: Before Columbus | Timeline” is an excellent one. You can find it HERE.
If you’re ready to learn more you can visit the website of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. There you find a very thorough history of how the holiday came to be, who was involved, when Native Americans became U.S. citizens and much more. It is an interesting picture of our culture as we slowly began to make changes and grow in our humanity. The first paragraph reads as follows:
“For almost one hundred years, Americans both Indian and non-Indian have urged that there be permanently designated by the nation a special place on the calendar to honor the contributions, achievements, sacrifices, and cultural and historical legacy of the original inhabitants of what is now the United States and their descendants: the American Indian and Alaska Native people.” You can read the full article HERE.
Another website with lots of information is Whitehouse.Gov. Here you can read A Proclamation on National Native American Heritage Month, 2022.
“During National Native American Heritage Month, we celebrate Indigenous peoples past and present and rededicate ourselves to honoring Tribal sovereignty, promoting Tribal self-determination, and upholding the United States’ solemn trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations.
“America has not always delivered on its promise of equal dignity and respect for Native Americans. For centuries, broken treaties, dispossession of ancestral lands, and policies of assimilation and termination sought to decimate Native populations and their ways of life. But despite this painful history, Indigenous peoples, their governments, and their communities have persevered and flourished. As teachers and scholars, scientists and doctors, writers and artists, business leaders and elected officials, heroes in uniform, and so much more, they have made immeasurable contributions to our country’s progress.”
The above paragraphs set the tone for the proclamation which you can read HERE.
We hope that all of our readers will enjoy watching, viewing, listening, learning on this Native American Heritage Day and Month!
Photo Credit: Andrew James