National Native American Heritage Month
In November, National Native American Heritage Month raises awareness about our history, our present-day struggles and our hope for the future
Beginning in 1990, presidents of the U.S. have declared the month of November National Native American Heritage Month. Proclamations have called for governments, groups, organizations and people across the country to observe the month with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.
Native American Heritage Month provides Native peoples the opportunity to celebrate their diverse and rich cultures, traditions, as well as educate non-Natives about tribes, raise awareness about the unique history of the United States and Native peoples, and acknowledge the strength and resiliency of Native survival. The special commemoration is a platform for American Indians and Alaska Natives to share their culture through activities like music and dance, history, art and food. This year due to Covid-19, many of these activities will be taking place virtually.
Sharing the histories of Native peoples is also vital during this month and all year. Through colonization Native American culture, language, land and life were all systematically and forcibly taken.
Today, there is ample evidence that colonization still occurs through the inhumane conditions on reservations, the jurisdictional issues that prevent the prosecution of non-Native perpetrators on tribal lands, and ignoring missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Domestic violence manifested over generations of Native Americans being persecuted by European settlers. Domestic violence isn’t a Native American tradition, it was introduced through colonization.
Observing National Native American Heritage Month is an acknowledgment that Native peoples live on despite historical trauma and continued oppression. American Indians and Alaska Natives are resilient and continue to create solutions and programs to address their unique issues. Through StrongHearts Native Helpline, Native Americans who have experienced domestic, dating and sexual violence can now get culturally-appropriate support. When our relatives are hurting, we are here to answer the call.
“Native American Heritage Month is a chance for us to raise awareness that we are still here,” says StrongHearts Native Helpline Director Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians). “The continued suffering of Native Americans is a testament to the need to heal and practice traditional ceremonies and participate in our culture. We honor our traditional healers and storytellers who use prayer, drumming, songs, and sacred objects to restore and renew a sense of hope and pride.”
StrongHearts Native Helpline is a free, culturally-appropriate, and anonymous helpline for Native Americans and Alaska Natives impacted by domestic violence and dating violence. We acknowledge and support all victims regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or relationship status. If you or someone you love is experiencing domestic violence, help is available.
Contact StrongHearts at 1-844-7NATIVE or click on the Chat Now icon to connect one-on-one with an advocate daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. As a collaborative effort of the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, after-hour callers can connect with The Hotline by choosing option one.