Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month 

November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is commonly referred to, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people.  It also provides the opportunity to raise 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.\

Native American Heritage Month has evolved from its beginnings as a week-long celebration in 1986, when 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 as "National American Indian Heritage Month". Every president since 1995 has issued annual proclamations designating the month of November as the time to celebrate the culture, accomplishments, and contributions of people who were the first inhabitants of the United States. 

The goal of our recognition month is to expand our knowledge of the history of American Indians and to also highlight accurate depictions of their lives today.

A Few Fun Facts: Did you know that?

  • As of 2022, 2.09% of the U.S. population identified as American Indian or Alaska Native, which is around 6.79 million Americans. 
  • There are about 574 federally recognized Native American tribes in the U.S.
  • More than 27,000 people who identify as American Indian currently live in Pennsylvania. 
  • The states with the largest Native American population are: California, Oklahoma, and Arizona. Alaska has the highest relative percentage of Native Americans with 19.74% of the total population.
  • The two largest Native American tribes are Cherokee Nation and Navajo Nation.
  • Hammock, barbecue, and chocolate are three common words that come from Native American languages.
  • Native Americans are considered to be the first group to have created anesthetics and analgesics. Often deriving from natural products and ointments, such as plants and flowers, they established a revolutionary form of medicinal healing, long before European doctors had knowledge of such possibilities. 
  • More than half of the states in the U.S. have names that come from Native languages, one of the most familiar groups being the Algonquian languages. Three examples of this are Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. 

Upcoming Events

Native American Heritage Month at the Constitution Center

Resources for Families and Teachers

Books with Authentic Images and Representations of American Indians

Native American Heritage Month- Resources and Videos from the Library of Congress

National Museum of American Indians- Smithsonian

History of American Indians

American Indians Today

Thanksgiving- Resources for Teachers and Families