Why We Celebrate
We use the month of November to commemorate the history and heritage of indigenous and Native Americans, and those with American Indian and Alaska Native backgrounds.
At the start of the 20th century, an effort grew to recognize the first Americans, and commemorate those who inhabited our land before us. The first “American Indian Day” in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York.
What started as a singular holiday, evolved into the month-long celebration that we know now as the month of November. The first Native American monthly heritage celebration was established in November 1990, when President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month,” the first month-long observation of those with Native American heritage.
It is crucial to use this time to honor the contributions, traditions and culture of native peoples. Particularly around the time of the Thanksgiving holiday, we hope to continue education surrounding the tribes and peoples that were indigenous to our land, while gaining awareness to the struggles that Native American people have historically faced.