Throughout November, discover the rich history, ceremonies, and storytelling traditions of Indigenous peoples of North America as part of National Native American Heritage Month. Celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of the people who are the original inhabitants, explorers, and settlers of the land now called the United States.
What are some ways to celebrate National Native American Heritage Month?
- Did you know that more than half of the U.S. states have names that come from Native language? See how many U.S. state names derived from Native languages you can think of. Check your answers at the bottom of this blog post!
- Visit the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University and view the collection of objects made or used by Native Californians. The collection contains items prior to the Spanish arrival to California, objects from the Mission Period, and items made as late as the 19th century.
- Explore Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park in Gilroy. The park features Uvas Creek and a wealth of cultural artifacts including bedrock mortars and petroglyphs left by the native people who occupied the area for thousands of years. Go on the self-guided interpretive walk and an interpretive shelter focusing on tribal culture.
- Visit one or more of the 50 registered California Native American sites listed in the State Parks and Museums Interpreting California Indian Culture and Heritage website.
- See one or more of the 8 Native American Landmarks in Northern California which are Mount Diablo, Mount Shasta, Ahjumawi Lava Springs (near McArthur), Patrick's Point (near Trinidad), Medicine Lake (near McCloud), Clear Lake State Park, State Indian Museum (in Sacramento), and Wassama Round House State Historic Park (near Ahwahnee). At the State Indian Museum, see traditional baskets, a redwood dugout canoe, ceremonial regalia, beadwork, and hunting & fishing tools - some of which are more than twenty-four hundred years old.
- Go to Yosemite and explore the Indian Village of the Ahwahnee in Yosemite Village. A bark house, Miwok cabin, Chief's house, sweathouse, and ceremonial roundhouse are featured.
- Visit the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian online. Read the numerous treaties made between the United States and the American Indian Nations. See objects that were made by the Great Basin Native Americans in California.
- Browse Native American Films for free through Kanopy offered through SCCLD. After logging in to Kanopy, type in "Native American" under search (in upper left).
- Kick off Native American Heritage Month by watching Joy Harjo, the first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate, and Deb Haaland, the first Native American Cabinet Secretary, in a conversation with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.
- Explore All My Relations podcast. On each episode, Matika Wilbur (Tulalip and Swinomish) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation) delve into a different topic facing Native peoples today, bringing in guests from all over Indian Country to offer perspectives and stories.
- For online research guides on various historical Indigenous topics, visit the Library of Congress on Indigenous Studies. For blogs about Native American history, visit the Library of Congress blog.
- Delve into some books to learn more about Native and Indigenous communities, cultures, and history with these book lists for adults, teens, and children:
This book list features fiction titles by and/or about Native American, American Indian, Indigenous, and First Nations authors and characters.
Explore these picture books and non-fiction books to learn more about Native American history and traditions.
ANSWER to the 27 state names that are derived from American Indian languages: Alabama (Choctaw), Alaska (Aleut), Arizona (O’odham), Arkansas (Illinois), Connecticut (Algonquian), Hawaii (from the indigenous language of Hawai’i), Idaho (Apache), Illinois (Algonquian language group, probably Miami), Iowa (Dakota), Kansas (Kansas), Kentucky (Seneca), Massachusetts (Narragansett), Michigan (Ottawa), Minnesota (Dakota), Mississippi (Ojibwe), Missouri (Missouri), Nebraska (Chiwere), New Mexico (Nahuatl), North and South Dakota (Dakota), Ohio (Seneca), Oklahoma (Choctaw), Tennessee (Cherokee), Texas (Caddo), Utah (Apache), Wisconsin (Miami), and Wyoming (Lenape).