November is National Native American Heritage Month
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
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.
Some Native American Creation Stories - American Indian Creation Stories
- Creation of the First Indians
Creation of the First Indians. This story is told by the Chelan Indians, who live beside a long lake in the central part of the state of Washington. The lake is called Lake Chelan (pronounced sha-lan), meaning "Beautiful Water".
- Old Man and the Beginning of the World
Old Man came from the South, making the mountains, prairies, and forests as he passed along. He made the birds and animals also. He traveled northward, making things as he went along, putting red paint in the ground here and there, making it all as w
- Creation story of the Choctaw People of Tennessee and Mississippi
The Choctaw People say that when the People first came-up out of the ground, People were encased in cocoons, their eyes closed, their limbs folded tightly to their bodies. And this was true of all People, the Bird People, the Animal People, the Insec
- Timucua Creation Legend (Taino)
When Creator, Yayjaba' created the world, he created first the Spirit of Water and the Spirit of Wind. Then Yajaba' created the large pond and in the middle of the pond he placed the land. Into the waters of the pond he placed the swimmers - those th
- Anishinabe Migration Story
In the Anishinabe Migration Story, alcohol is the last and most evil of the 4 evil gifts that Short Bear Ribs brought home from his trip back east, where he met 2 ugly, smelly "red-face bear men." who had built a square wigwam made of tree-trunks. (T
Art Depicting Native American Ancestors - Photo taken at the Grand Canyon of the Ancient Ones
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
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 American Art and Culture - Native American Heritage Month Celebrates Language and Literature
- American Indian Film Institute
The American Indian Film Institute (AIFI) is a non-profit media arts center founded in 1975 to foster understanding of the culture, traditions and issues of contemporary Native Americans.
- Dorothy Ramon Learning Center
Saving and Sharing Southern California's Native American Cultures, Languages, History, and Arts
- American Indian Fim FestivalÂ® - YouTube 2012 Films
Established in 1975, the American Indian Film FestivalÂ® is the oldest and most prominent media showcase of its kind in the world. We have screened over 2000 films from USA American Indian and Canada First Nation communities. Founded and produced by
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
O' GREAT SPIRIT
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.