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November is National Native American Heritage Month


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Hedda Monaghan
Henry Whittemore Library
(508) 626-4664

Framingham State University Acknowledges Native American Lands

Framingham State University would like to acknowledge that the land we live, work, learn, and commune on is the original homelands of the Nipmuc tribal nations. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal from this territory, and we honor and respect the many diverse Indigenous peoples still connected to this land on which we gather. The Library is committed to honoring Native American and Indigenous Peoples’ heritage by hosting educational events and providing educational resources.

Visit the Nipmuc Nation's website to learn more about their history and organization.

To learn more about acknowledgements of Indigenous territories, visit the the website of the Native Land mapping project.

Streamable Documentaries About Current Native American Issues

A Brief History of National Native American Heritage Month

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

One of the very [first] proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans” and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.

The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

- found at the Native American Heritage Month homepage.

Selected Images from the National Archives

Two Native Americans in colorful clothing and surroundings

Apsáalooke Feminist series #

By Wendy Red Star, Artist. 2016. Used by Permission.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.

Women and children seated at a table outside.

Members Sewing Society

Native American war veterans in uniform, standing and kneeling in two rows

Members of the 3rd and 4th Division Navajo code talker platoons of World War II, dressed in their unit's uniform, pose for a group photo during a commemoration of the landing on Iwo Jima

National Archives

Painting of adobe homes

Taos Pueblo 1935-36

By Helmut Naumer, Sr. Pastel, paper. H. 30.5, L. 47.0 cm Bandelier National Monument, BAND 1408

Black and white photo of dwellings carved into a cliff

Montezuma Castle, Off I-17, Camp Verde, Yavapai County, AZ

Black and white photo of a Native American adult, seated, with a child standing on either side, all in traditional clothing.

Native Americans from Southeastern Idaho

Black and white photo of a seated man crafting a mask

Jesse Cornplanter, descendant of Cornplanter, the famous Seneca chief, making a ceremonial mask,

Tonawanda Community House, Tonawanda, New York

Sepia tone photo of a young Native American woman in traditional clothing.

Jicarilla maiden

National Day of Mourning

An Alternative Perspective about the the fourth Thursday of November

Articles found in Gale General OneFile (FSU community only)

National Day of Mourning: The Flipside to Thanksgiving

While most people associate Thanksgiving Day with Macy's balloons, turkey dinner and football games, the United American Indians of New England honor a different kind of holiday: one of mourning and protest.

While Thanksgiving is a celebratory holiday for many, for some, the fourth Thursday of November is a solemn day of remembrance and activism. Since 1970, Native Americans and advocates have gathered in Plymouth to commemorate the National Day of Mourning, a protest started by the United American Indians of New England to raise awareness of the genocide of millions of Native Americans, to address current issues faced by Native peoples and to challenge the mainstream mythology of Thanksgiving.

The Myth of Thanksgiving and National Day of Mourning

"Correcting the mythology of Thanksgiving matters, because when people perpetuate the myth of the holiday, they are not only erasing the genocide of my ancestors, but also celebrating it," James said in an email. "Thanksgiving is also a day of mourning, because it is a time when we come together to mourn the deaths of millions of our indigenous ancestors as a result of settler colonialism."

For more information about the organizers of the National Day of Mourning, please visit the United American Indians of New England's website.

Related Books Available at the Whittemore Library

#Notyourprincess voices of Native American women

"Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling Dreaming in Indian, #Not Your Princess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible."-- Provided by publisher.

Four Ancestors: stories, songs, and poems from Native North America

A collection of traditional Native American tales celebrating the wonder and mystery of the natural world, arranged under the categories "Fire," "Earth," "Water," and "Air."

Lasting Echoes: an oral history of Native American people

Discusses the history of Native Americans, with a sampling of excerpts from their own accounts of their experiences.

Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back : a Native American year of moons

In Native American legend, the thirteen scales on Old Turtle's back hold the key to the thirteen cycles of the moon and changing seasons. These lyrical poems and striking paintings celebrate the wonder of the seasons of the year from the legends of such Native American tribes as the Cherokee, Cree, and Sioux.

Code Talker: a novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two

After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages during World War II in their native tongue.

Native Arts of North America

Survey of the styles expressed in the native arts of North America from prehistoric times to the present and explores some of their historic dimensions. Includes paintings, engravings, textiles and sculpture.

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse

2016 Winner

Teased for his fair coloring, eleven-year-old Jimmy McClean travels with his maternal grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, to learn about his Lakota heritage while visiting places significant in the life of Crazy Horse, the nineteenth-century Lakota leader and warrior, in a tale that weaves the past with the present. Includes historical note and glossary.

Moccasin Thunder: American Indian stories for today

Presents ten short stories about contemporary Native American teens by members of tribes of the United States and Canada, including Louise Erdrich and Joseph Bruchac.

As Long As Grass Grows

Interrogating the concept of environmental justice in the U.S. as it relates to Indigenous peoples, this book argues that a different framework must apply compared to other marginalized communities, while it also attends to the colonial history and structure of the U.S. and ways Indigenous peoples continue to resist, and ways the mainstream environmental movement has been an impediment to effective organizing and allyship.

American Indian Art

445, [2] p. illus., 60 col. plates. 28 x 30 cm.

The Routledge Companion to Native American Literature

The Routledge Companion to Native American Literature engages the multiple scenes of tension -- historical, political, cultural, and aesthetic -- that constitutes a problematic legacy in terms of community identity, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, language, and sovereignty in the study of Native American literature.

Seeing Red

By pointing out and poking fun at the dominant ideologies and perpetuation of stereotypes of Native Americans in Hollywood, the book gives readers the ability to recognize both good filmmaking and the dangers of misrepresenting aboriginal peoples.

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