Native American Heritage Month


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Native American Heritage Month Celebration at Grand Canyon National Park

Channing Hill, Howler Copy Editor

November is Native American Heritage Month, and there are many ways to celebrate and commemorate Native American heritage and traditions. 

Native American Heritage Month was officially created in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush. This month-long celebration originated as American Indian Day, which took place on the second Saturday of May. However, the date was changed to express appreciation for native tribes during the Thanksgiving holiday season. 

Oklahoma is home to 39 tribal nations, the larger ones including the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole nations. All of these tribes continue to influence Oklahoma as a whole today, directly employing over 54 thousand people and providing 113,442 job opportunities, which accounts for more than 15.4 billion dollars in benefits and wages, as of 2019. 

“This study shows just how important tribes are to Oklahoma’s economy,” said Neal McCaleb, Chickasaw Nation Ambassador to the United States. “We are helping create sustainable economies through our many valuable jobs as well as making other substantial and impactful investments into our broader communities. This is our home and we look forward to continued growth –  growth that benefits all Oklahomans.”

Although this holiday is dedicated to recognizing Native Americans, both Natives and non-natives alike can celebrate throughout the month. According to the Oklahoman, there are several exhibits showcasing Native American Heritage at museums and cultural centers that were available for public enjoyment, such as Stomp Dance Demonstrations and an “It’s corn!” history lesson. 

In addition to all these festivities, Oklahoma’s new First Americans Museum is now open to the public. The museum opened to the public in September of 2021 and offers many educational and immersive experiences like the Origins Theater, the Powwow Van and The Hall of the People. The museum, which took over 30 years and $175 million to complete, occupies a plot of land that was a part of the land run of 1889. It features the stories of the 39 tribes that occupy Oklahoma. 

Santa Fe is doing many things to commemorate Native American heritage, including sharing facts about Native American history and culture over the morning announcements and displaying posters that feature tribal flags. If you are a Native American citizen and are interested in exploring what the Edmond Public Schools Indian Education Program can offer you, feel free to visit their website or contact Courtney Tsotigh, the Indian Education high school advisor through email at [email protected]