Every month seems to be devoted to one cause or another, and virtually every day of the year is the national or international day to celebrate something. Though many of these “holidays” and special months of remembrance might go a bit overboard, others are definitely worth considering. Among those occasions, it is definitely worth taking the time to look at the heritage of those who called the United States their home long before it was known as America. Every November, you can take the time to celebrate your American Indian or Alaskan Native heritage and learn more about their colorful cultures.
If you grew up in the United States, you are already familiar with the many hardships that American Indians had to deal with when settlers came over from the east. Unfortunately, many are still unaware of the extent of thes hardships and often overlook the realities of their history. In the month of November, all people around the country (including federal, state, and local governments) are called to look back on this heritage and shed more light on the subject. Additionally, many groups look to explore contemporary issues that still challenge these individuals, finding ways to shed light and keep the heritage strong.
For most of the 20th century, there was absolutely no effort to recognize the culture and heritage of these native citizens, but this was changed on August 3, 1990 when President George H.W. Bush declared that the month of November should be National American Indian Heritage Month. By passing this bill, he called for the entirety of the country to observe this month and take some time to really delve into the past of the country and those people who were here at its foundation. This tradition has continued and includes the honoring of Alaskan Natives, as well as Native Americans and other groups, who called this country home.
All around the country, many different state and local governments are celebrating this month with their own set of events. Some larger companies are offering information and classes to their personnel to learn more about native heritage and others are even organizing events. The US Department of Interior is hosting its own series of events if you are around that area. Of course, many local communities offer their own ways to celebrate, including small community festivals and a variety of other organized events. Whether you are looking to learn more about your personal heritage or just want to be more informed about the history of the country and contemporary issues that these people still face, it can be a truly eye-opening experience.