Native American Heritage Month
Native American Heritage Month is observed each November to honor the rich and diverse cultures and heritage of Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and affiliated Island communities. It is a time to celebrate the traditions, languages, and stories of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people and ensure their histories and contributions are, and continue to be, remembered and recognized.
There are 574 federally recognized tribes in the United States, and many more still seeking recognition. Tribal citizens represent about 2.5 percent of the total U.S. population, with a majority living outside of tribal statistical areas, in urban areas. Intergenerational trauma, cultural barriers, geographic isolation, and lower levels of income have led to significant health disparities among Native populations who experience higher rates and prevalence of risk factors for mental health and suicide, unintentional injuries, obesity, substance use, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), teenage pregnancy, diabetes, liver disease, and hepatitis. Learn more about AI/AN health. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAHMSA), "Native Americans aged 18 and older experienced higher rates of serious suicidal thoughts within the past year (5.6 percent) and were likelier to make suicide plans in the past year (1.8 percent) when compared to other racial or ethnic groups." You can learn more about this and other current issues faced by this population to honor Native American Heritage Month.
You can also visit the U.S. Library of Congress's Native American Heritage Month website to learn about native histories and cultures, view native art and historical images, access teaching resources, and find upcoming events. Or, attend an AI/AN event open to the public, read a book written by a native author, or support native-owned businesses.