Native American Heritage Month, held each November, honors Native American history, culture, and contemporary experiences. This month is a great time to learn about the rich Native American traditions and cultures.
Here are some ideas for events that showcase indigenous history and culture.
ORIGIN OF THE MONTH OF ORIGIN
As with many national months, National Native American Heritage Month can be traced back to a presidential proclamation.
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush, along with Congress, passed a resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month (now known as Native American Heritage Month).
Previously, weeks had been set aside to recognize Native American contributions, but this was the first time a month-long recognition had been granted.
Visit MESA GREEN
One of the best places to learn about Native American history firsthand is Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. Mesa Verde National Park contains some of the best-preserved ancient pueblo dwellings that have inhabited the Southwest for hundreds of years. While visiting the park, you can walk through the Cliff Palace, which had 150 rooms and housed around 100 people.
You can also see other surviving dwellings, such as the Spruce Tree House and the Balcony House. This park is an excellent place to start a conversation about indigenous peoples. It provides a visual representation of their lives and the challenges they face.
Visitors can walk through the houses, see construction techniques and get an insight into past life.
DISCOVER AMERICAN FOOD TRADITIONS
Food is one of the most important ways cultures express themselves. When you eat traditional food, you learn about the people who prepared and ate it. You will also learn about the environment people lived in and the challenges they faced.
Native American peoples have a long history of growing and harvesting wild foods. These practices have shaped the culture and identity of indigenous peoples. Hence the cultivation of maize was fundamental for many indigenous peoples.
It has been so important to the culture that the Hopi people have many stories related to corn from their heritage. Maize was the staple crop of many indigenous peoples and helped them survive in their environment.
A visit to an indigenous farm or garden is the perfect place to learn about indigenous food traditions. Seeing the crops that people once grew and continue to grow is a great way to understand the importance of food to their culture. You can also talk to indigenous people who still grow and harvest native crops like corn, squash, potatoes, and beans.
Participate in a POWWOW event
In addition to growing crops and harvesting wild food, indigenous peoples have also participated in communal gatherings for a long time. These powwow gatherings are held to celebrate various occasions and strengthen ties between indigenous peoples.
You can learn more about powwows by attending a meeting. Powwows are often held on weekends, so you can attend with family or friends.
For people who have never attended a powwow, it can be helpful to know some of the basics of the event. People dress up in traditional clothes and dance in a circle. If attending a powwow with families with small children, expect loud music and dancing.
DISCOVER THE ROLE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN HISTORY
Indigenous peoples have had a major impact on US history over the past few centuries. They have shaped culture, fought in wars and influenced the development of the country.
An example of their contribution is during World War II. The Navajo Code Talkers developed code for the U.S. military that translated efficiently and was difficult for opposing armies to crack. This played a crucial role in US military success in the Pacific theater.
DISCOVER THE ORIGINAL EXPERIENCE TODAY
Many people focus on the history of indigenous peoples, but it’s also important to understand their experiences today. Unfortunately, the mistreatment of indigenous peoples in the past still affects many.
For many communities, these residential schools have been traumatic experiences. They were often forced to renounce their native language and culture and were taught by people who abused them. Some indigenous communities are still struggling with the consequences of these experiences.
Today, many Native Americans are working to protect their traditions, revive their languages, and respect their cultural traditions. Many carry on the customs and traditions of their ancestors through stories, ceremonies, and arts such as beadwork, painting, and sculpture.
APPRECIATE NATIVE AMERICAN ART
Visual art is a way for people to express themselves and communicate their culture to others. Native Americans have a long history of craft art that expresses their culture. Some of the more interesting visual works include decorative baskets and beadwork.
Baskets usually have intricate designs that tell the story of their creator. Visiting a locally owned art show or gallery is a great way to learn about the culture. Exhibitions often include information about the artist and how his art represents his culture.
The exhibits are also a good place to start a conversation about the stories that inspire Native American art.
FIND THE STORY OF YOUR AREA
You can learn more about the native history of your area by visiting local museums.
You can visit a museum and ask the staff to recommend exhibits or programs related to indigenous peoples in your area.
You can also discuss what you’ve learned with friends and family. Celebrate Native American National Heritage Month and all that Native American cultures have contributed to the United States. Visit museums, attend exhibitions and read books to learn more about the indigenous experience.
WHERE TO LEARN ABOUT AMERICAN CULTURE AND HISTORY
WIND RIVER COUNTRY – WYOMING
Wyoming’s only reservation, the Wind River Indian Reservation covers 2.2 million acres and is home to Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.
Here are some ways to celebrate the month: visit the reserve (here are nine things to do, including the resting places of Sacajawea and Chief Washak), learn about the tribal peoples through the TravelStories app (where you can learn about the creation Arapaho, reintroducing bison to the reservation and more), or see Robert Martinez (who is North Rapaho, Latino and Anglo) at work. He is one of the artists chosen to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park. www.windriver.org
VISIT SOUTH DAKOTA – SOUTH DAKOTA
Rapid City, the center of the Black Hills, offers visitors multiple ways to learn about the culture and history of the seven Black Hills tribal nations that have rich ties to the Black Hills.
Rapid City and the surrounding area offer several experiences that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the history of this place, such as the Black Hills Powwow (the third largest powwow in the nation held in October), Badlands National Park (which was a indian hunting). Thousands of years of soil) and Wind Cave National Park (which has sacred ties to the Lakota culture). Rapid City highlights include Journey Museum & Learning Center, Prairie Edge Trading Company, and Dakota Drum Company.
The Lakota Nation Invitational will take place December 14-17, 2022 and is considered the most unique basketball tournament in the world. While basketball is a big part of the event, it also includes handball championships, Grand Access Fridays, traditional drumming and singing, business and the arts. www.visitrapidcity.com