Happy Native American Heritage Month

Since Aug. 3, 1990, the month of November is known as Native American Heritage month. This month is here to celebrate and acknowledge the culture of our worlds first inhabitants. Native Americans have brought many contributions to our nation and continue to make a huge impact among all of us.

Native American culture goes back 15,000 years and consists of different languages, traditions, clothing/style and even food. Each of these aspects show just how diverse this culture is within its many tribes. After many struggles faced by Native Americans, such as the French and Indian War, Indian Removal Act, Trail of Tears and Dawes Act, it was hard to preserve Native American culture for future generations. After the establishment of forced assimilation, the culture of Native Americans was diminished drastically. Years later, Native Americans began getting their rights back through granting citizenship for being born in the United States. Slowly, their culture started to come back.

Aspects of the Native American culture we’ve adopted over the years include:

  • Thanksgiving: The Wampanoag Tribe met with European settlers and taught the planting and harvesting of crops grown in the winter. They eventually had a big feast together, beginning the traditional holiday that we know today as Thanksgiving.
  • Food: Native Americans helped European settlers plant many crops and brought food such as corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, nuts, melons and sunflower seeds. Many foods we eat today have been brought to us by Native American culture.
  • Sign Language: Sign language was commonly used by Native Americans to communicate among themselves and with European settlers, especially through trade.
  • Preservation of Nature: Earth was very sacred to Native Americans and preserving it was of great importance to them. This is now a common trait among many others outside of this ethnic group as well.
  • Art: Native American designs are very popular and commonly used in clothing, products, artwork/paintings and jewelry such as bead-work and the color turquoise used in jewelry. Music as well is influenced by Native American culture.

This month is a great way of teaching yourself and others the great contributions of Native Americans that have impacted the nation and will continue to impact many generations to come.




Featured image: https://library.sdsu.edu/native-american-heritage-month