What is Native American Heritage Day?

Native American Day

While all of us are familiar with Thanksgiving Day and the festivities associated with it, many of us may not know that Native American Heritage Day is in the same week. The Friday immediately after Thanksgiving is recognized as Native American Heritage Day, and the whole month of November is actually Native American Heritage Month.

Brief History

President George H.W. Bush delivered the first proclamation that made November 1990 the month for celebrating Native American heritage. This proclamation and subsequent approval by Congress officially recognized the November of 1990, specifically.

In September the next year, Congress passed a resolution where the President designated the Novembers of 1991 and 1992 as Native American Heritage Month. The resolution recognized the diverse contributions made by the Native American community to the country’s progress. And it chose November, once again, since the month was the traditional harvest season and a time of celebration.

Since then, every President who has sat at the Oval Office has continued the tradition of declaring November as the Native American Heritage Month. By 2009, Congress passed an act that chose the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving day as Native American Heritage Day.

Significance

The Native American Heritage Month serves as a month that recognizes and celebrates the rich heritage, culture, and value of Native Americans. And the Friday that follows Thanksgiving is specially earmarked for this purpose.

It’s a time for the whole country to appreciate the unique history of Native Americans and acknowledge the rich contributions they’ve made to the nation’s values and culture.

Very importantly, it’s also a time to reflect on the obstacles and challenges that they face(d) both in the past and today.

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How the month is celebrated

The Native American Heritage Day festivities will vary from state to state, depending on how people want to express their celebrations. As with any celebration, you can expect get-togethers, food, hash-tags, social media campaigns, gifts, etc.

Among the many events that can come up, the Rock your Mocs campaign and Red Shawl day are really popular among young people. Wearing a pair of moccasins (traditional Native American footwear) to honor tradition and show support is the main idea behind Rock your Mocs. According to the campaign’s page, for those who don’t have access to mocs, a Turquoise Awareness Ribbon is the alternative.

For Red Shawl Day, the campaign encourages people to wear red in support of other women and children who fell victim to atrocities against Native Americans. It’s a tragic yet profound statement symbolized by wearing the color red.

Whether or not you’re part of a Native American community, joining the festivities and celebrating the culture is always encouraged this month. Getting a pair of Mocs or an Awareness Ribbon may be a bedeutendes Geschenk für 13 Jahre Alten Jungen with a native heritage. Or simply explaining the significance may work equally friend for an older friend or colleague.

Either way, there’s no doubt that considering November as Native American Heritage Month sheds light on the culture, history, contributions, and unique challenges faced by Native Americans.