November is Native American Heritage Month, and we’d first like to acknowledge that THS locations reside on the stolen land of the Coast Salish peoples. This month is a time to honor the history and stories of those who were here before us. As the original dwellers of what is now the United States, there’s an inherent need to respect and honor the ones whose land and lives were taken from them. But to give that respect, we need to understand what really happened when early colonial settlers came to find their new home.
The False Narrative Being Taught About Native American History
In recent years, there has been a widespread realization that the Native American history taught in public schools is largely inaccurate. The history we’re taught fails to mention the racism, oppression, and violence that original settlers inflicted upon Indigenous people. Lawmakers in many states have been hard at work trying to pass laws to require more schools to teach about Native American history as well as to improve the curriculum to be more accurate so that the true story is told.
The most popular story that nearly all of us are taught about Native Americans is the story of Thanksgiving. Do you know how much of it is true?
The Truth About Thanksgiving
As Thanksgiving comes and goes, we encourage you to read about the myths that often surround the Thanksgiving holiday.
6 Thanksgiving Myths and the Wampanoag Side of the Story: https://indiancountrytoday.com/archive/6-thanksgiving-myths-share-them-with-someone-you-know
Rethinking Thanksgiving Celebrations – Native Perspectives on Thanksgiving: https://americanindian.si.edu/nk360/informational/rethinking-thanksgiving
How To Tell Kids The Real Story Behind Thanksgiving: https://www.today.com/parents/how-tell-thanksgiving-story-your-kids-t200911
How Can I Celebrate Native American Heritage Month?
A great way to celebrate Indigenous peoples this month (and beyond) is to educate yourself on their real history as well as current happenings in Native American communities. Below is a list of books (both fiction and non-fiction) written by Indigenous authors that discuss a variety of topics and are intended for a variety of audiences.
Books to Read:
This book tells how the expansion of the United States gravely displaced and destroyed the Native American population.
A collection of stories from the indigenous peoples of the Puget Sound area in Washington state.
Elliott’s reflection of the trauma, oppression, racism and the overall experience of being an indigenous person in modern North America.
This book tells the history of indigenous people in America. It focuses on how centuries of oppression towards the Native American population created a culture of resistance and led to the major protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline and beyond.
This book details the story of an impoverished Onondaga family living in the Tuscarora Nation. It discusses the generational impact the came from his grandparents’ experience being forcibly sent to the infamous “Indian boarding schools.”
A novel about a indigenous teenager whose mother was attacked but is not taken seriously by police so he and his friends decide to investigate it on their own.
A novel unraveling the private reasons for 12 different indigenous characters to attend a powwow, this story tells the story of multiple generations of pain and beauty.
This children’s book tells the story of Larry Loyie, a young Cree boy, in his last summer before being forced to go to an “Indian boarding school.”
How Else Can I Learn About Native American Heritage, Culture And Current Happenings?
A list of websites that you can use to learn more about the past and present of Native American culture:
Native Knowledge 360: https://americanindian.si.edu/nk360
High Country News: https://www.hcn.org/
Native American COC: https://americanindiancoc.org/
Native News: https://nativenewsonline.net/
Indian Country Today: https://indiancountrytoday.com/
National Congress of American Indians: https://www.ncai.org/