By Leigh Verburg, Branch Librarian
Native American Heritage Month has progressed from a week-long celebration starting in 1986 to a whole month celebration of the value of the Native American culture and it’s people in 1995. “The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges” (ncai.org).
How can we as a community learn more about the Nations and tribes in our area? First, we can recognize that the land we live, work and play on was not ours for the taking. Land recognition is important and has become more common in past years. You can look up what Nation or tribe lived on certain land based on the address at native-land.ca. This will give you links to learn more about that group of people.
Second, educate yourself. There are many books written by Native Americans. To find out more go to nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov or go to https://www.pbs.org/specials/native-american-heritage-month/ for a great documentary. GVSU usually holds a celebration in November, however, this year while they are not, they do give a list of great resources (PDF) to engage with the perspectives of Natives. These resources include movies, books, music, podcasts and websites.
Be sure to check out kdl.org/recommendations for more!