This November is Native American Heritage Month. Celebrated for more than 25 years, it’s a month to observe the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native Americans and recognize their important contributions.
Its origins date back to the early twentieth century when Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, persuaded the Boy Scouts of American to set aside a day to honor the “First Americans” and it grew from there:
National Native American Heritage Month Timeline
- 1914 – Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. In 1915 he presented the White House with endorsements of 24 state governments, although there is no record of a proclamation for such a day based on his efforts.
- 1915 – The annual Congress of the American Indian Association formally approved a plan for American Indian Day to be celebrated the second Saturday of each May. It contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.
- 1916 – The first American Indian Day in a state was declared by the governor of New York.
- 1919+ – Many other states begin enacting American Indian Day for the fourth Friday September or designate Columbus Day as Native American Day.
- 1990 – President George H.W. Bush approves a joint resolution designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month” and similar proclamations under different names have been issued each year since 1994.
Native American Historic Figures
There are countless Native American historic figures who have had made important contributions to our society. In light of Native American Heritage Month, we have a few great interactive cards and lessons featured in iSucceed’s social studies courses (though we wish could spotlight all the Native American Historic Figures!). Check them out below.
Tecumseh is often seen as a prodigious military strategist and warrior. Although severely outnumbered and out-weaponed by the American militia, he helped tribes withstand three battles and worked to unify multiple tribes. To learn more about him, click on the card below featured in our Social Studies courses.
Although his accomplishments are questioned by some, Stand Waite worked to create peace and signed treaties with the government in the 1800s. Stand Waite was also a general for the Confederates in the Civil War. Click on the card below to learn more about him.
Navajo Code Talkers
Despite much mistreatment from the United States government, many Native Americans still felt it their duty to protect the country, culture and the communities of America. Over 10,000 Native Americans fought in World War I, and perhaps the most famous are the Navajo Code Talkers.
In World War I, writing letters and communicating in code were starting to become too risky, as the enemies learned to intercept and decode messages. That’s where the Native American soldiers helped. Because the Navajo language was unknown to foreign countries and is not a written language, the U.S. spoke in Navajo and created their own corresponding written language so as to safely communicate across seas. Thanks to the contributions of the Navajo soldiers, the U.S. codes couldn’t be cracked; even when Germany and Japan sent students to learn the Native American languages!
To read more about the Navajo Code Talkers, head to this article featured in iSucceed’s social studies courses.
3 Ways to Celebrate National Native American Heritage Month
This month, we hope you use this article as a start to learning more about Native American tribes and their significant contributions to our society. How else can you celebrate this month? Here are some ideas:
1. Continue Learning About First American Historic Figures
This blog is just a small glimpse of famous Native Americans. Don’t just stop here! Read some articles or book and learn more this month!
2. Travel Back in History
Idaho is rich in Native American history. In fact, several of our city and county names are based on Native American tribes. Head to the Idaho Museum of Natural History in Boise, or go hiking on one of these amazing trails to discover some ancient artifacts.
3. Participate in an Event
What better way to learn than by submersing yourself in the culture? Attend an event this month or participate in a pow wow near you.
If you enjoyed the interactive cards and lessons above, come to iSucceed Virtual High School! Our courses are packed with items just like these, along with games, videos and other engaging content to enjoy your education. Learn more here.
- How do you plan to commemorate this Native American Indian Heritage Month? Share with us in the comments below!