November is Native American Heritage Month!
Indigenous advocacy for a permanent, annual celebration of Native peoples began over one hundred years ago, with activists and organizations calling upon the federal government to honor Indigenous heritage throughout the early to mid-twentieth century. Finally, in 1976, a Senate Joint Resolution written by Jerry C. Elliott-High Eagle of the Osage and Cherokee Nations was signed into law, paving the way for federal recognition of Native American Heritage Month.
Elliott-High Eagle, a NASA physicist and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient whose actions during the Apollo 13 Mission saved the lives of three astronauts, drafted the resolution in order to recognize the contributions of Indigenous people amidst the US bicentennial. He was inspired to pen the draft after receiving a vision on Sacred Mountain in South Dakota. The resolution, which authorized then-President Ford to designate one week in October as Native American Awareness Week, laid the foundation for the eventual declaration of November as Native American Heritage Month in 1990.
Pictured: Jerry C. Elliott-High Eagle, a retired NASA physicist of Cherokee and Osage heritage, authored the 1976 Senate Joint Resolution that paved the way for the federal recognition of Native American Heritage Month. Photo credits to Sooner Magazine.
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, a list of Native-led advocacy organizations and resources from the Indigenous perspective are included at the end of this newsletter. We will also continue to amplify stories and resources from Native organizations on our Facebook page throughout the month.
We would love to hear from our Tipi Raisers community: how do you plan to recognize and celebrate Native American Heritage Month?
Informative resources to explore in honor of Native American Heritage Month:
A collection of educational materials on Indigenous history and heritage for teachers
"Celebrating Native Americans Today and Everyday: Resources for Native American Heritage Month" from Cultural
Documentaries, short videos, and other media focused on Native American Heritage from PBS
Native-led organizations to follow during Native American Heritage Month and beyond:
National Congress of American Indians
American Indian College Fund
Native American Rights Fund
Sources for this blog post include: The Department of the Interior, Indian Country Today, Sooner Magazine, The Oklahoman, The Ford Library Museum, and an interview of Jerry C. Elliott-High Eagle by the American Institute of Physics
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