At this time of year, millions of people recount the tale of the first Thanksgiving and there’s usually a great focus on the first pilgrims. As this month is Native American Heritage Month, it’s time that we celebrate the significant contributions Native Americans have made to this country.
The history of Native American Heritage Month began with one event 100 years ago. In 1916, a New York governor named the second Saturday in May “American Indian Day.” This day gained attention in other states and eventually led to national action. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush named November “National American Indian Heritage Month,” which is now known as Native American Heritage Month.
Places to Visit for Native American Heritage Month
Communities across the country will be celebrating Native American Heritage Month with different festivals and tributes. Listed below are just three examples to inspire you.
- Washington, D.C. Do you plan on visiting Washington, D.C. sometime this November? If so, consider adding the National Museum of the American Indian to your itinerary. You can check out their amazing exhibits or attend one of their special events in honor of Native American Heritage Month. This month you may enjoy some of their special events. After you’re done visiting the museum, check out the National Memorial for Native American Veterans as well.
- North Carolina. There are many beautiful things to see in North Carolina, one of which happens to be the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. If you plan on being in town consider stopping by. You can learn about one of the local tribes by visiting the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. You can learn more about the history of Blue Ridge at the Cherokee Homestead Exhibit and the Oconaluftee Indian Village.
- New York. New York City is packed with adventure. If you plan on being in New York City this month consider visiting the George Gustav Heye Center. This museum is a branch of the National Museum of the American Indian and you’ll find a ton of interesting exhibits.
Get involved. November shouldn’t be the only time that we celebrate Native American heritage in this country. If you would like to learn more about Native American history or get involved in special projects consider reaching out to Native American charities or organizations, such as the Native American Heritage Association (NAHA).