American Indian and Alaskan Native (AIAN) Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, histories, and important contributions of Native people. It is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.
The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. In 1986, President Reagan proclaimed the week of November 23-30, 1986 as "American Indian Week." In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.
Ways to Honor
Host Lunch & Learn sessions! Learn about some of the AIAN pioneers. Annie Dodge Wauneka of the Navajo Tribe was a public health activist who dedicated her life to improving the health and welfare of her people. Or Susan La Flesche Picotte, who was the first American Indian to receive a medical degree at a time when even the most privileged women faced discrimination from the medical community.
Share personal stories – Learn about our colleagues and their diverse experiences and how they help enrich our workplace culture.
Play a game of Lacrosse. Lacrosse was one of many varieties of indigenous stick ball games being played by American Indians.
In Washington, D.C. or New York, NY? Take a trip over to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Take in the history, culture, stunning architecture, and even try cuisines from different regions at the Mitsitam Cafe. Can’t make it to Washington or New York? You can still visit their online exhibitions. https://americanindian.si.edu/
Consider hosting a book club focusing on AIAN authors, biographies, or history.
Let's eat! Explore regional cuisines from the AIAN people. Why not try an in-person or virtual cooking class?