Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

November 16, 2020 by Coach Training EDU

Since 1990, the United States has recognized November as Native American Heritage Month. The celebration of this month honors, educates and amplifies Native American culture, history and voices. The United States has only been celebrating since the 1990s but there are centuries of tradition, art and stories to share. 

We invite you to take the time to educate yourself on the history, celebrate the culture and amplify the voice of Native American communities. To achieve diversity, equity and inclusion, we have to collectively do the work and it starts with each of us individually. To begin, we’ve compiled a list of resources below. This is only a start! We recognize there many more organizations, websites, artists, books, and indigenous voices to connect with. If you have any suggestions please share in the comments below! 

Organizations to Support


Native-led initiative to change the narrative about Native Americans on a mass scale.

IllumiNative’s mission is to illuminate the vibrancy and importance of contemporary Native voices, stories and contributions in order to shatter the pervasive invisibility and false narratives that adversely impact Native youth, families and communities.

Native Americans Rights Fund

Since 1970, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) has been committed to providing legal assistance to Indigenous tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide. NARF has successfully asserted and defended the most important rights of Indians and tribes in hundreds of major cases, and has achieved significant results in such critical areas as tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, natural resource protection, and Indian education. 

Native Wellness Institute

The Native Wellness Institute exists to promote the well-being of Native people through programs and training that embrace the teachings and traditions of their ancestors. They serve as a leader providing Native-specific and wellness-related training and technical assistance to Native people, communities, tribes and organizations throughout North America. 

Warrior Women Project

An indigenous women’s collective organized around the principle that the past and present are interconnected in the indigenous worldview. Their mission is to ensure the informed future of Indigenous Nations by empowering the leadership and solutions of Native women through culturally relevant research and outreach programming.

Native American Languages of the Americas

Nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and promotion of endangered American Indian languages. You can support by donating, making audio recordings in Indigenous languages, link to the organization’s website and more. 

Books to Read

Mohawk Interrupt**s, Audra Simpson**

Audra Simpson, a member of the Mohawk tribe, is a scholar and professor at Columbia University who focuses on the politics of recognition. Her book was celebrated by Indigenous studies scholars as a critical addition to education on tribal community and national identity. Combining political theory with ethnographic research among the Mohawks of Kahnawà:ke, a reserve community in what is now southwestern Quebec, Audra Simpson examines their struggles to articulate and maintain political sovereignty through centuries of settler colonialism.

Pushing the Bear**, Diane Glancy**

This historical novel details the struggles the Cherokees endured on the Trail of Tears when they were removed from their land. The narrator, Maritole, who serves as a voice for all the women as they are forced from their homes. 

Shell Shaker**, LeAnne Howe**

The book revolves around two stories of murder involving Choctaw political leaders. Set over a 200-year period, it focuses on several generations of the Billy family who try to keep the peace

Sacred Smokes**, Thomas C. Van Alst Jr.** 

Set in Chicago, which has a surprisingly large Native population, in part because of government-supported relocation programs, these short stories focus on young people growing up with gangs, hanging out in clubs, and in general living sharp, difficult lives.  

1491: New Revelation of the Americas before Coulumbus**,** Charles C. Mann 

Mann uses science, archaeology, and history to challenge our idea of what America was like before the arrival of Columbus in 1492. 

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States**,** Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz 

This book offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous people. Roxanne reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted the expansion of the US empire.  

Amplify Native American Voices

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland

One of the first Native American women to be sworn into Congress, alongside Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.). she introduced a slew of bills aimed at addressing violent crimes in tribal communities, the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and boosting protections for Native women who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault

Naelyn Pike, 19 @naelynpike

Following in the activist footsteps of her grandfather and mother, Naelyn Pike considers the fight to protect sacred lands a generational one. Her family founded Apache Stronghold, an organization dedicated to defending holy sites and freedom of religion for Indigenous communities. Naelyn has been working with the group to save the sacred site Oak Flat from being sold to a foreign mining corporation. She’s spoken at schools and conventions around the world, advocating for the rights of her people and encouraging other youth to do the same.

Christina Haswood

Newly elected member of the Kansas House of Representatives. Christina Haswood, 26, is  the youngest member of the Legislature, and the second current Native American and only the third in the body’s history. She decided to use her expertise in public health to launch her candidacy. Haswood’s a registered member of Navajo Nation and worked as a research assistant with the National Council of Urban Indian Health and the Center for American Indian Community Health, where she studied tribal youth nicotine addiction and COVID-19’s effect on Native populations.

Nathan Phillips

Former director of the Native Youth Alliance, a group aiming to uphold traditional culture and spiritual ways for future Native Americans. He is a well-known Native American activist who was among those leading the Standing Rock protests in 2016 and 2017 against the construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota.

Tom Goldtooth 

One of the leading fighters for environmental and economic justice, sustainable development and effective economic systems. He’s the executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, an influential Native non-governmental organization in the country.


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