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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEIA) Resources:
Native American Heritage Month

November is National Native American Heritage Month! 

During the month of November (and year-round!) we commemorate the legacy that Indigenous history makers have left and celebrate those who continue to shape our society, lead their communities, and impact our culture today. It is a time to educate ourselves and each other about the contributions the rich history, heritage, art, and traditions of the original American peoples made to the establishment and growth of the United States.

A Brief History

America is a vast land of many cultures, dating back thousands of years to the original inhabitants of the land. Unfortunately, we have only just begun to collectively reckon with the long-term effects of the colonization, genocide, and segregation of the nation’s indigenous populations. 

The origins of this heritage month can be traced back to the turn of the twentieth century, and specifically to a Seneca archaeologist, Dr. Arthur C. Parker. Parker fought for a federal recognition day for Native Americans throughout the early 1900s and founded several native rights organizations, including the Society of American Indians in 1911. He successfully persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the "First Americans," which they did from 1912 to 1915.

In 1976, the United States bicentennial year, Congress passed a resolution authorizing President Ford to proclaim a week in October as "Native American Awareness Week,” which he first did on October 8, 1976. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Beginning in 2021, President Biden dubbed the annual federal holiday formerly known as Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day, creating an additional day of recognition alongside National Native American Heritage Month.