November is Native American Heritage Month, and in our books, that’s worthy of celebration. All month long, we’ll be joining people around the country in honoring the history and contributions of American Indians and native Alaskans. This month is all about providing a platform for Native Americans to share their culture, traditions, art, and music, as well as educating the public on Native American history and contemporary life. Looking to get involved? We knew you would be. There are plenty of fun and interesting ways to participate in National Native American Heritage Month, and we’ve rounded up our top three picks to get you out there and celebrating this important occasion.
Whether you’re at home catching up on the latest Sherman Alexie novel or in D.C. for the opening ceremony, the key is to get involved. The purpose of the campaign is to elevate the stories of native peoples past and present, bringing their voices to the forefront and honoring their important place in the fabric of the United States. The easiest way to get active in the cause? Check out the official events calendar to find celebrations near you, or to find ways to get involved remotely. If you’re having trouble locating events near you, simply search for Native American Heritage Month events in your state or city, and you’ll find plenty of local programs hosted by colleges, libraries, area tribes, and more. There are awesome initiatives taking place from coast to coast, all you have to do is pick one that’s right for you.
Take it to the streets.
Are you more of a DIY type than a program attendee? More power to you. There are plenty of grassroot ways to celebrate Native American people, culture, and history. You can engage with Native American heritage in your own community by seeking out art exhibits and cultural events happening near you. Plan a trip to D.C.’s esteemed National Museum of the American Indian, or check out one of the top five museums around the country dedicated to Native American art. Or, keep it local and call up your city’s art museum to ask if they have any programs or special exhibits planned in honor of Heritage month. Tap into your community’s local Indian American association and find out if they have heritage celebrations on the calendar or other cultural performances in the works. By opting for direct involvement, you’re guaranteed to learn more, have fun, and walk away with some awesome memories.
Talk the talk.
Speaking of direct involvement, why not learn a Native language? According to a recent census, there are over 5.2 million American Indian and Alaskan native people in the United States, and they belong to thriving, dynamic communities. The bad news: despite the strength of native tribes and communities, many native languages are now endangered. Around the globe, over 2,000 languages are endangered - and many American Indian languages make that list.
We’re doing our part to preserve and revitalize some of these languages. By working directly with Cherokee leaders, we now have a Cherokee language course — packed with grammar, vocabulary, and culture — available for free to everyone. Our language course is a great way for the public to directly engage with the history, culture, and language of the Cherokee people. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, now’s the perfect time to log on and start learning. Just go to our Endangered Languages page to set up your free account and get started in a matter of minutes.
Looking for a little more information about Cherokee language and culture before getting started? Check out our blog post to learn how we developed this course and why it matters.