October 31, 2023
In 1990, Congress passed a joint resolution designating the month of November as Native American Heritage Month. The President signed this resolution into law. For many Indigenous Nations in the United States, autumn is a time of harvest, reflection, and showing gratitude for the earth’s abundance and provisions. Today there are 574 federally recognized tribes/nations in the United States, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Each of these is their own sovereign nation, with a multitude of different languages, customs, and traditions.
One wish that seems to resonate across these nations is for people to know that we are still here. We exist in the urban core, suburbs, countryside, and reservations. We work and create alongside you, from two-time U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo, to our nation’s government, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Congresswoman Sharice Davids as just a few examples.
Have you read a book lately that mentions an Indigenous person or place? I encourage you to go a step further and research those depictions of people and places. Did the book/article/movie/etc. get it right? If not, at least you’ve done your part in seeking the truth to a fictionalized version of a people/event/etc. You have made an impact to fighting cultural appropriation, and added to cultural appreciation. Thank you!
It’s important when Indigenous stories are told by and through Indigenous authors and illustrators. If you’re looking for something to read to your “little ones”, I suggest works by the author June Thiele. I’m also a big fan of Angeline Boulley with her fictional stories based on real-life traumas and events turned into personal victories and reclamations. Side note, listening to her audiobooks adds to the immersive nature of the storytelling.
I empower you to ask questions, support Indigenous authors and storytellers, and to keep an eye out for our recommendations and book lists. MCPL is offering a variety of programs and events for Native American Heritage Month!
Yakoke! Wa do!
Midwest Genealogy Center