November is Native American Heritage Month. This month gives us an opportunity to connect to the Indigenous communities throughout the United States. There are 326 Indian Reservations with 567 different tribes across the United States. Yes, some reservations hold multiple different nations on them. See, we’re already learning.
As a descendant of Skokomish (Duhlelap Twana) and Yakama (Wishram) Nations out in Washington, with ancestors from Hawai’i, Native American Heritage Month means a lot to me and my family. It gives us a chance to reach out, connect, and, hopefully, heal old wounds. It’s no coincidence that this month falls at the same time as Thanksgiving, given that it was about the Pilgrims and Wampanoag working together before the Puritans showed up and started persecuting and murdering everyone. To me, it’s a great example of what could have been in a world without religious fundamentalism.
It’s this idea of us — Indigenous and migrant — working together that focuses Native American Heritage Month. We have to start healing, and this month is a good place to do just that. Below are seven current touchstones of the Indigenous American experience. The point of this is to expand horizons, bring people together, and amp up empathy for America’s most subjugated citizens. It’s about taking action and learning about the land and people that exemplify America in its earliest form.
Here are books you can read, food you can eat, podcasts you can listen to, movies you can watch, and travel experiences you can have right now to connect to the Indigenous tradition in the United States.