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Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time to honor and celebrate the diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native peoples.

What is Native American Heritage Month?

"Native American Heritage Month was first declared by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. Though the initial resolution did not automatically renew, every November from 1994 onwards has been declared Native American Heritage Month. During this time, Native American advocacy organizations and the United States government work to preserve Native American culture for future generations. They educate students and adults about Native American history, particularly the important contributions Native Americans have made to the United States.

The month is also meant to educate people about the struggles faced by Native Americans, both in modern times and throughout history. This includes the elevated rates of violence and substance abuse on many Native American reservations . It also includes the complex history between the Native American tribes and the United States government."

Biscontini, Tyler. “Native American Heritage Month.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, June 2022. EBSCOhost,

What is the correct terminology: American Indian, Indian, Native American, Indigenous, or Native?

Native Knowledge 360º states: "All of these terms are acceptable. The consensus, however, is that whenever possible, Native people prefer to be called by their specific tribal name. In the United States, Native American has been widely used but is falling out of favor with some groups, and the terms American Indian or Indigenous American are preferred by many Native people. Native peoples often have individual preferences on how they would like to be addressed. When talking about Native groups or people, use the terminology the members of the community use to describe themselves collectively."

Learn more at Native Knowledge 360º from the National Museum of the American Indian.