National American Indian Heritage Month
November 2003

~What is National American Indian Heritage Month?
~Quick Facts
~Online Resources
~News for and about indigenous peoples
~Film and Television
~Native Lore, Dance, Storytellers and Musicians
~Foods of indigenous peoples

What is National American Indian Heritage Month?

American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month originated in 1915 when the president of the Congress of American Indian Associations issued a proclamation declaring the second Saturday in May each year as American Indian Day. The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916, in New York. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations have been issued each year since 1994.
Source: U. S Census Bureau, Facts for Features.

"... everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence."
-- Morning Dove (Christine Quintasket) Salish

Quick Facts about American Indians and Alaska Natives

4.3 million ~ The number of people estimated to be American Indian and Alaska native or American Indian and Alaska native in combination with one or more other races, as of July 1, 2002. They made up 1.5 percent of the total population.
Source: U. S Census Bureau,

3.1 million ~ The number of American Indians and Alaska natives who claim membership in a specific tribe.
Source: U. S Census Bureau,

American Indian tribes with more than 50,000 members are Cherokee, Navajo, Choctaw, Blackfeet, Chippewa, Muscogee (Creek), Apache, Iroquois and Lumbee. Cherokee is easily the largest, with a population of 697,400 who are Cherokee alone or in combination with one or more other races or tribes.
Source: U. S Census Bureau,

Tlingit is the largest Alaska native tribe, with 17,200 members. Other Alaska native tribes with 5,000 or more members are Alaskan Athabascan, Eskimo and Yup’ik.
Source: U. S Census Bureau,

538,300 ~ Number of American Indians and Alaska natives living on reservations or other trust lands. Of this number, 175,200 reside on Navajo nation reservation and trust lands, which span portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. This is by far the most populous reservation or trust land.
Source: U. S Census Bureau, Facts for Features

"I am a red man. If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place. He put in your heart certain wishes and plans, in my heart he put other and different desires. Each man is good in his sight. It is not necessary for Eagles to be Crows.
We are poor, but we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die, we die defending our rights."

-Tatanka Iyotake (Sitting Bull) 1831-1890

Source: Aboriginal Elders Teachings

Online Resources

Smithsonian Institution—Native American History and Culture
This site contains links to Native American Indian and native Alaskan resources such as cultural centers and museums, a genealogical research guide, video clips, photo exhibitions, a reading list and the National Museum of the American Indian.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History: American Indians and the Natural World
American Indians have an enduring heritage of connections with the natural universe. These connections are the focus of Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Alcoa Foundation Hall of American Indians.

Native web

Native American Tribes

News for and about indigenous peoples

Native American Journalists Association "serves and empowers Native journalists through programs and actions designed to enrich journalism and promote Native cultures."

The American Native Press Archives is devoted to the preservation and dissemination of the written words of Native peoples. It began in 1983 as a clearinghouse for information on American Indian and Alaska Native newspapers and periodicals. (It includes eyewitness accounts of the Trail of Tears Indian removal.)

United Nations Global Forum on Indigenous Peoples and the Information Society and the World Summit on the Information Society—December 8-11, 2003.

The Lakota Journal’s Editor/Publisher Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, has 25 years of experience as a news reporter, editor, publisher and syndicated columnist. He was the founder and editor and publisher of The Lakota Times which he later renamed Indian Country Today.

The News From Indian Country is a twice-monthly, independent, Indian-owned newspaper supplying national news, pow-wow dates, and information to all of Indian Country.

Reznet, a new online newspaper, will pay American Indian students to write for their school newspaper – even if their colleges don’t have one. Reznet is a project of The University of Montana School of Journalism and the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education

Indianz.Com, Your Internet Resource. "Our mission is to provide you with quality news, information, and entertainment from a Native American perspective."

Canku Ota (Many Paths) is an online newsletter celebrating Native America.

Navajo Times is the newspaper of the Navajo people.

American Indian Radio on Satellite--AIROS - providing you with authentic Native American music, news, entertainment, interviews and discussions of the current issues in Indian Country and the world. AIROS is an international distributor of Native American programming through the Public Radio Satellite System.

EARTHSONGS—modern music for native America. Earthsongs is mixed each week at RadioCamp for Koahnic Broadcast Corporation (KBC), a nonprofit, Alaska Native governed and operated media center located in Anchorage, Alaska. "Koahnic" is an Athabascan word in the Ahtna dialect meaning "live air."

"It does not require many words to speak the truth."
-Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

Source: Aboriginal Elders Teachings,

Film and Television

Matters of Race: We're Still Here is "... a contemporary look at two communities often overlooked in the race dialogue: American Indians and Native Hawaiians. On the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the program features the voices of three generations of Lakota families as they consider their past, their future and the process of merging multiple world views, ways of life, and ideas of America."

Native American by birth, Chris Eyre was adopted into the white world and only later reconnected with his original family. Chris Eyre earned a master's degree at NYU's Tisch School, where he wrote and directed the Indian drama, Tenacity, which won the coveted Mobile Award and a place at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival.

Chris Eyre worked with Sherman Alexie on a short, then a full-length version, of Smoke Signals, which won both the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

Chiefs: the film-- Every November for the last 18 years, Al Redman has unlocked the cage for Wyoming Indian High School's first day of boys' basketball practice. And every year so far, he's found a way to win. The silver-haired Redman has chalked up an impressive record as head coach of the powerhouse Chiefs, including five state championships and a record 50-game winning streak. But it has been eight years since the Chiefs have won a state title, a long time for a team that is the focal point for the community of Wind River, Wyoming.

"Teach your children what we have taught our children that the earth is our mother. What ever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. This we know. The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth. This we know. All things are connected-like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. What ever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. We did not weave the web of life; we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, We do to ourselves."
-Chief Seattle

Source: Aboriginal Elders Teachings,

Native Lore, Dance, Storytellers and Musicians

Native American Stories and Legends from My Two Beads Worth

Native Storytellers and Authors Online

Miracle, the Sacred White Female Buffalo Calf, was born on the farm of Dave, Valerie, and Corey Heider during the morning of August 20, 1994. Not an albino, she is considered to be the first white buffalo calf born since 1933. Furthermore, she is extremely important to the religious beliefs of many American Indian tribes. The Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations (known collectively as the Sioux) are considered her primary spiritual guardians and she plays a pivotal role in the fulfillment of their most revered prophecies.

Native American Women Photographers as Storytellers

Kevin Locke (Tokeya Inajin is his Lakota name, meaning "The First to Arise") is known throughout the world as a visionary Hoop Dancer, the preeminent player of the indigenous Northern Plains flute, a traditional storyteller, cultural ambassador, recording artist and educator.

Gayle Ross is a descendent of John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation during and after the infamous “Trail of Tears,” the forced removal of many Southeastern Indians to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) in the late 1830s. Her grandmother told stories and it is from this rich heritage that Gayle’s storytelling springs. During the past twenty years, she has become one of the most respected storytellers to emerge from the current surge of interest in this timeless art form.

Vi an Upper Skagit elder who's dedicated most of her life to preserving Lushootseed language and culture... For 15 years, she taught Lushootseed language and literature to hundreds of University of Washington students and was instrumental in publishing the first Lushootseed dictionary.
–Seattle Times, Thursday, July 26, 2001

Yup’ik dancing is an expression of art, by communicating visually, by displaying movement for meaning, and by getting words across to the mind, enhancing the imagination of the story being told..."

THE HAWK PROJECT was created to promote spiritual awareness and creativity through a blend of Native American music, jazz and free improvisation.

"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."
- Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator, (1890)

Source: Aboriginal Elders Teachings,

Foods of indigenous peoples

Cooking Post for Native American Foods--A tribally owned venture providing economic prospects and employment possibilities for our own tribal members and for other Indian people nation wide. Join us for an American Indian culinary adventure unlike any other. You'll find something for everyone here -- from traditional herbal teas to flavorfully roasted coffee beans, from robust blue corn muffins to feast day stews -- The Cooking Post is sure to have a tasteful offering for both your stomach and your spirit.

The American Indian Tea Company is Indian owned and upholds a history filled with herbal knowledge. Owner, Joseph Hesbrook (Has No Horses) is first generation off the reservation, but currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A Plains Indian who has a Ph.D., Dr. Hesbrook combines the old traditions with education to bring about a higher knowledge and understanding.

Muscrat Coffee Company is a native owned and operated coffee company on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. We roast gourmet organic and fair trade coffee.

Native American Recipes: Anissabo / Baked Acorn Squash / Baked indian pudding / Cherokee Pepper Pot Soup (Ai) / Fresh Tomato Sauce / Fried Green Tomatoes / Inagami-pakwejigan (soft Bread) / Missiiagan-pakwejigan (sunflower Bannock) / Nopales / Ogwissimanabo / Ogwissimanabo(yellow Squash Soup) / Ojawashkwawegad / Ojawashkwawegad(wild Green Salad) / Peanut Butter Amaranth Logs / Posole / Pueblo bbq pork roast / Zuni Indian Bread / Zuni Indian Bread

"Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you find that Money Cannot be Eaten?"

-Chief White Cloud
Source: Aboriginal Elders Teachings,