November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is commonly referred to, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Native American Heritage Month is the opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges our Native American people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which Tribal citizens have worked to overcome these challenges. November is a time to celebrate our rich and diverse culture, tradition, and history.
The history of Native American Heritage Month goes back a surprisingly long time, even without considering the hundreds of years that Europeans have imposed themselves on the New World. The first inklings that such a day may come to pass occurred back in 1915 when Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfoot Nation, took it upon himself to ride a horse from state to state seeking approval from 24 separate state governments for a day to honor the “American Indian”. In December of that year he presented it to the White House, apparently to no positive effect.
It was George H. W. Bush who officially took the steps to push forward a joint resolution that made November of 1990 the first official Native American Heritage Month. Multiple proclamations have been made since each year following 1994. Since then cultural sites, museums, and native tribal councils have organized events showcasing their rich and diverse culture and history so that it might be spread to the young and continue to thrive.