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November is National Native American Heritage Month

Updated on November 8, 2014

Native American Indian Heritage Month 2012 Information

November is National Native American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month. Learn the history of tribal reservations, and many other Indian facts. Find books written by Native Americans, instead of the erroneous stories that have been taught over the years, in their own words and perspective.

American school children have been taught old stories, erroneous ones, about Native Americans. More often than not the only thing people know about Indians is what was taught in school, read in a book, or seen on TV. As with all stereotypes it takes time and effort to dispel myths and misinformation. That's why Native American and Alaskan Native Month was established, to help teach and learn to appreciate the diverse cultures and traditions of the various tribes.

Traditions are passed down through the generations from the elders to the children, through oral history, music and art. Appreciating different cultures and diversity enriches all of us, and the Indian culture is much more than what we see on TV, and no the culture is not dead, and here you can see some of the old, as well as contemporary information about American Indians.

The UN Rights of the Indigenous People, Childrens Literature, and having the courage to question our long standing stereotypes of American Indians is a start in showing the cultural diversity and truth of American Indians.

Contemporary American Indian Image: Dancing with Birds Copyright Flynn the Cat

Native American Origination Stories
Native American Origination Stories

Did American Indians really come over the Bering Strait?

Theory that isn't supported in the Native Cultures

Rock Art, or Petroglyphs are found across the United States and around the world. This ancient Rock Art predates the written word and is believed to be millions of years old. In Nevada's first state Park, Valley of Fire, rock art is found in several spots, and is well preserved as evidenced by this picture.

These petroglyphs are believed to have been made by the Anasazi (Ancient Pueblo Natives) from around 300 B.C. to A.D. 1150. Where did the Original Inhabitants come from? The most popular theory from the non Native Culture has it that during the last ice age the sea between Russian and Alaska dropped about 300 feet exposing a land bridge between the two continents. This bridge is purported to have been originally exposed 70,000 years ago, and disappeared anywhere from 14,000 to 11,000 years ago. It was during this exposure that migration from Asia occurred, but no one knows why these people migrated. It is speculation that they migrated over a period of many years, and generations possibly following Bison and other animals.

There are different creation stories depending on the Tribal Nation, but none that I have heard matches the Bering Strait theory.

Art Depicting Native American Ancestors - Photo taken at the Grand Canyon of the Ancient Ones

Native Ancestors
Native Ancestors

Navajo Weaving

Navajo Weaving Image by Kathy McGraw
Navajo Weaving Image by Kathy McGraw

Navajo Weaving. Navajo weavers are world famous for their weavings. This particular piece is called 2 Gray Hills.

Similarities between European and American Indian Weaving Patterns - Native American Weaving

Native Weaving Patterns
Native Weaving Patterns

This particular weaving was not made by American Indians, but by a lady in a small, isolated village in Eastern Europe. When I first saw this pattern I was immediately struck by the similarities from Navajo "Ye'ii" (YEH-ee) figures. A Ye'ii is a Navajo holy person or deity. This was just one of many patterns that had very similar characteristics and patterns to the Navajo Rugs I have seen.

Native Indian Childrens Art
Native Indian Childrens Art
Native American Education
Native American Education

Native American Education

From Literature to College

Native American stories have typically been entertaining although not necessarily realistic or contemporary. Children need role models from their cultures in order to develop healthy self-esteems. As a young native child this little boy has a well stocked home library . Not everything he reads is culturally correct but with his parents guidance, extended family, and that of tribal elders he is able to learn the difference.

Native Americans typically are the least likely to go on to college, and only about 10% graduate. A high school diploma is typically the highest educational level of many Native people. There are many reasons for this, including prejudicial comments made by teachers and others like "dumb Indian" ingraining itself on a child's self-esteem. Thankfully we have come a long way, but there is an even longer way to go.

Everyone has to take some responsibility for education. This little boy will probably go to College as it is a family expectation. There are several Grants available to Native Students and many schools have advisers to help with the transition especially for students from rural reservations who might not be used to the different environment of a college campus.

State Grants: Find Your State Here

American Indian Scholarship Fund

Native American Scholarships

Books written by Native Americans
Books written by Native Americans

This Land is My Land Written by George Littlechild - Childrens Book for Ages 9-12

George Littlechild is a member of the Plains Cree Nation, the largest Indian nation in Canada, and this book was recommended by Debbie Reese, well known Assistant Professor and Speaker who teaches about Native American literature.

Jingle Dancer - Native American Contemporary Story

The story of Jenna, a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation living with her family in Oklahoma, is written by a Native author. Good reviews. this Colorful picture book is perfect to read to young children.

The Birchbark House - by Award Winning Native Author Lousie Erdich

A Native alternative to Laura Ingalls Wilds "Little House" books that didn't portray Natives accurately.The Birchbark House was written by award-winning Native author Louise Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwa.

Ages 9 + with excellent reviews and a National Book Awards Finalist

Moccasin Thunder - American Indian Stories for Today by Lori Marie Carlson

Various short stories all by Native writers.

Native American Historical Information
Native American Historical Information

Resources for Teachers About Native Americans

resources for teaching Native American history, art and humaities

Find activities and news in your area for Native American Heritage Month on the Library of Congress site. Great Resources for teachers and moms that home school to help teach about Native Americans.

Native American Heritage Month

What is a Federally Recognized Indian Tribe?

How many Federally Recognized Tribes are there in the United States?

There are currently 566 Federally recognized Indian Tribes in the United States. Tribes must meet Federal requirements before they can be federally recognized, which gives these tribes certain benefits that other tribes do not have. Some tribes have tried for years, unsuccessfully, to be recognized. There are many factors that make this seemingly simple process one of red tape and anguish for these tribes. It's not an easy process at all to become one of the Federally Recognized Tribes.

"The United States has a unique legal and political relationship with Indian tribes and Alaska Native entities as provided by the Constitution of the United States, treaties, court decisions and Federal statutes. Within the government-to-government relationship, Indian Affairs provides services directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts to 566 Federally recognized tribes with a service population of about 1.9 million American Indian and Alaska Natives" quoted from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Native American Stereotypes
Native American Stereotypes

Quote by Chief Joseph

It does not require many words to speak the truth.

The Cherokee Nation Trail of Tears

The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

In 1830 the Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson to remove the Cherokee Nation from the Southeastern States of Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee. The Cherokee fought this Removal Law, but in 1838-9 after losing a Supreme Court appeal they were forced from their lands. They were forced to walk miles, some of them across 6 states from their homes to the newly designated Indian Territory, land set aside for Indians in what is now the state of Oklahoma. This 3 to 6 month journey claimed the lives of thousands of Cherokee due to starvation, disease, exposure, and exhaustion. This route became known as theTrail of Tears.

In 1987 Congress established the Trail of Tears National Historic Park. The original Historic Trail wasn't complete and in 2007 a National Park Service feasibility study was made to determine if parts of the trail that weren't previously included were in fact original, and documented. They determined they were, and in March 2009 President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, which more than doubled the size of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

This chapter in our history has been likened to ethnic cleansing, very similar to the Holocaust. One race tried to wipe out another, and they almost succeeded!

Cherokee Prayer


help me always

to speak the truth quietly,

to listen with an open mind

when others speak,

and to remember the peace

that may be found in silence.

Indian Canyon in Palm Springs, CA
Indian Canyon in Palm Springs, CA

Indian Affairs

Bureau of the United States Department of the Interior

Indian Affairs is a Bureau of the United States Department of the Interior established in 1824 to oversee and manage different aspects of Indian Tribes. They are in charge of several things including the land that is held in "trust" by the the reservations; land put in trust back in the 1800's for Indians relocated from their home lands across the United States. They also have a responsibility for promoting economic and educational opportunities for Alaska Natives and Native Americans,

Native Americans and the Environment it's all about respect
Native Americans and the Environment it's all about respect
Pine Ridge Rez boys during a Back to Back Horse Race photo by C.McGraw
Pine Ridge Rez boys during a Back to Back Horse Race photo by C.McGraw

What is a Tribal Nation?

What is a Sovereign Nation?

For American Indians their Reservation is a nation inside America: like if we took another country, for example Italy and stuck it inside America yet they retain their own laws, schools, customs and culture with the right to govern themselves. That is a Sovereign Nation.

Rights of Indigenous People eBook

UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples -47 page Free ebook, just click the link.

UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Quiz for National Native American Month
Quiz for National Native American Month

Chief Seattle Quote

Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

November Native American Month Guestbook
November Native American Month Guestbook

This is not a comprehensive study, just a few tidbits and resources to show that Native American Culture is alive and well, and what we were taught in school were stereotypes. Native American Month is all about learning and respecting the Native Way


Guestbook for Native American Month Please leave comments here - Was this useful in learning something new?

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    • KathyMcGraw2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy McGraw 

      5 years ago from California

      @WildFacesGallery: Glad you enjoyed it.....there's so much to say, so this was just a short overview. Laughing at your words of "challenging quiz's".

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy McGraw 

      5 years ago from California

      @Redneck Lady Luck: Thanks....I think it's really important for people to learn at least something, or enjoy one of the many cultural events during November's Native American Heritage Month :)

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy McGraw 

      5 years ago from California

      @gamecheathub: Thank you Joe....the "hut" is a wikiup, aka a wigwam :)

    • gamecheathub profile image


      5 years ago

      The pic of that hut is awesome, Kathy. Great lens and very detailed info. Great read.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image


      5 years ago from Iowa

      What a great tribute tot he native peoples. Enjoyed the challenging quizes as well. :)

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      5 years ago from Canada

      How truly beautifully you have displayed Native American Month. Very touching, informative, and real.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathy McGraw 

      6 years ago from California

      @anonymous: Thank you, and thank you for the visit.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Plan to share this lens.

    • NativeArtsColle profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for putting together this lens. I would love to get your feedback on my new lens (very small at the moment) or on my main website,

    • bofirebear1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Like the lens and no stories in my family about our people coming across the Bering Straight although there is an origin story.

    • waldenthreenet profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you ! Beautiful Lens. I voe "Like' on this one. Will come again to vist soon. Thanks.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens. My children and their father are Cherokee Indian and it really surprises me how little he knows about his heritage. So this helps alot. Thanks :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Just a few days ago I saw a special on PBS TV about Native Americans. Very informative about how they were stereotyped in all media, and how they felt about it. Excellent page, by the way! :)

    • Paul Ward profile image


      7 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Ironically I was listening to Natvie American music last night, plus a few things line Buffy Sainte Marie and Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. Very nicley done lens.

    • jlshernandez profile image


      7 years ago

      I am very partial to Native American culture and art. Sometimes, I feel I used to be a native in my other life. I learned a lot from this lens but did poorly in the quizzes.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 

      7 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      Lovely page and informative page. I always found Native Americans fascinating even as a little girl when they were usually portrayed in movies and TV shows as the bad guys.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Your wonderful tribute to Native Americans stirred up the small amount of the same blood that runs within me. One of the more horrible blights on American history is our treatment of the Native Americans. Everyone abhors our treatment of slaves, but what we did to the native Americans was no less shameful. The images you have used throughout this lens are incredibly beautiful and so true to the dramatic beauty of these artistic people. Thank you!

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 

      8 years ago

      I've always been fascinated with Native American culture. I am an 8th Cherokee, but the only way anyone would know is if I told them because I am as pale as they come. I am lucky enough to have high cheekbones though...go me!

      This is a wonderful lens,it's great to learn a little more about Native Americans. The Cherokee Prayer is so beautiful. Isn't it amazing how in both Native Cultures and in Christian Faiths there is great emphasis on silence and good listening skills? Sometimes leaving the noise of where I live and spending time in nature, either in a park or in nearby Pine Mountain, is the only way I can find peace and recenter myself.

      Ps. Your spacer headings are absolutely amazing!!!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      8 years ago from UK

      This was a fascinating read and I learnt a great deal. Did better in the second quiz than the first one but both were fun and educational. This is a beautiful tribute to Native American people and their heritage month.

    • dustytoes profile image


      8 years ago

      I've always felt guilty as the "white man" who ousted the Natives from their land. I took your quiz and didn't realize that NH has Federally recognized tribes? I learned a lot here. Very nice lens.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks to folks like you and BevsPaper, and Veronica for spreading the word, and showing folks the truth. It's such a shame the things we were taught in school.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      8 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Native American history, traditions and culture have always fascinated me. I grew up in Iroquois country, the Finger Lakes region of western New York State. I was born in Canandaigua (from the Iroquois word "Kanandarque" which means "the chosen spot," and Native American names were prevalent throughout my region, as familiar to me as Cat or Dog! Thus began my interest in and fascination for our Native Americans and their history and way of life. To this day I get a kick out of knowing people often have no 'clue' how to spell my 'home town' -- to me "Canandaigua" is easy to spell! :) And I'm proud to be, even in this small way, associated with this country's Native Americans, a proud people who have given 'us-who-came-much-later-to-this-land' a special heritage. I'm pleased you've written this tribute to Native American Month. ~~Blessed by a SquidAngel~~

    • justholidays profile image


      8 years ago

      What a wonderful page! It's so informative and interesting. In addition, you made the page attractive - I love history lessons like this one!

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      8 years ago

      Very interesting lens, and tastefully presented.Thank you!

    • jp1978 profile image


      8 years ago

      Very informative. I didn't know about Sovereign Nations before reading this lens.

    • Yume Tenshi profile image

      Yume Tenshi 

      8 years ago

      My favorite part: "...and to remember the peace that may be found in silence..." :) i really do like that!

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Beautiful lens and wonderfully crafted. Native Indians have always fascinated me. I did pretty well (63%) at the quiz (but I think it was more of good guessing)!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You are really expanding on this niche and I like that you are encouraging us all to learn more about Native Americans. The quizzes were fun to do and no, I didn't do very well. Lensrolled to Chief Seatlle and blessed too!

    • DecoratingEvents profile image


      8 years ago

      Beautiful, poignant and informative. Thanks for putting this together!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Superbly done, Kathy! Thank you for helping to make people aware of National Native American Heritage Month. You lens was reviewed this morning at Squidoo Lens Reviews.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The Native American culture is truly fascinating. Thanks for sharing so much with us.

    • NarrowPathPubli profile image


      8 years ago

      Very nice. I am fascinated by Native American culture and would like to know more about it.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      8 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      i always respect these american indian culture. well presented lens.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      8 years ago

      Reading this lens was incredibly uplifting. I live in an area heavily populated by Canadian First Nations. I love the culture and rebuilding that's going on in the area. I hope to enlist some native voices on Squidoo. Excellent lens, angel blessed.


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