Center for Education, Equity and Diversity
Rethinking Heroes and Holidays
The ABCs of Native American Heritage Month - (November).
In observance of Native American Heritage Month, Teaching Tolerance offers a wealth of activity ideas tied to Thanksgiving, Native mascots and indigenous people's proud heritage of resistance.
by Jennifer Holladay:
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush designated November as "National American Indian Heritage Month," designed as a celebration of the history, art and traditions of the American Indian and Alaska Native peoples. In many ways, November is an odd time to observe Native American Heritage Month. It's the month that the nation also observes the federal Thanksgiving holiday, which to some Native Americans is no cause for celebration, but rather a Day of Mourning.
November also marks the countdown to football bowl season, when people gather around televisions to root for the "Seminoles," the "Redmen," the "Savages" and the "Fighting Sioux."
In this edition of the ABCs, Teaching Tolerance provides resources and activities to help debunk the mythology of Thanksgiving and expose the racism inherent in Native mascots.
At the same, we encourage educators to go beyond these issues during and after Native American Heritage Month to examine Native people's struggles to hold onto heritage and secure justice.