Honoring Native American Heritage Month 

November is Native American Heritage Month! According to the National Congress of American Indians, this month is “a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Native American 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.” 

Native American Heritage Month is a time to call attention to the traditions and achievements of America’s original inhabitants and their descendants. To honor this month, we asked some of our vendors to answer the question: 

What does Native American Heritage Month mean to you? 

“It means that we are unapologetically Indigenous. We can say it proudly with our heads held high and let it be known that despite the genocidal campaign forced upon our ancestors, we are still here.”Valene Hatathlie, Val’s Frybread 

“What it means is remembering where you came from. Reaching out to family members and asking about your ancestors and what they stood for. Finding out what our culinary dishes are and why we eat certain things. Trying not to get wrapped in modern culture, but to remember what makes us indigenous.”Michael John, Navajo Mike’s 

“To me, this month serves as a chance to revisit traditions and legacies and see how we can better be living and continuing them today. For example, one of the tenets of a Chickasaw Warrior is being a steward and protector of the land. And that’s a conversation we are having internally. Are we doing the best we can as a team and a company to steward and protect? Where else can we do better? We recently moved to solar power in our production facility but what can we do more?  I think this month is a great benchmark to be intentional about making sure we’re fulfilling our ancestors’ legacies today.”Abianne Falla, CatSpring Yaupon 

“Native American Heritage Month is unique in that our native people are able celebrate and showcase our powerful movement of re-establishing our food pathways, arts, community and healing here in Indian Country.”Spring Alaska Schreiner, Sakari Farms 

“Native American Month means opportunity to acknowledge, celebrate, and authentically learn about Indigenous peoples. During the month of November, across the United States, there are important steps happening to center Native voices and experiences and opportunities to support Native individuals and communities. We, here at Haipazaza Phezuta, would love your support for all Native & Indigenous-owned businesses, including our own, where our motto is “Share The Good Medicine.” We love creating products that express who we are as Oceti Sakowin peoples.”T & Tipiziwin Tolman, Haipazaza Phezuta 

As we are entering November to celebrate National Native American Heritage Month, I began to ask myself what does this mean? To me, it means we as Native Americans should be proud of who we are and acknowledge what sacrifices our ancestors have endured. As a result of the resilience of many strong individuals, tribes, nations, bands and indigenous communities we have survived and will continue to survive. 

“Time after time, promises were broken while our ancestors’ lands were taken away and they were then forced to reservations or to Indian Territories. Each time land was taken away, their identity was taken along with it. It is important to acknowledge the connection Indigenous people have with these lands as the original stewards of it. Our resilience and commitment to these lands continues to be shown as we strive to regenerate our soils and our communities from that.” – Tim Rhodd, Chairman of the Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska (Ioway Bee Farm) 

“Native American Heritage Month means time set aside to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native peoples and to acknowledge their important contributions to our country. My ancestors stem from various Pueblos throughout New Mexico, which include Jemez, Santa Ana, Zia, Picuris, Santa Cruz de Canada, Picuris and San Juan Pueblos which all make an important contribution to the food products we make and sell” – Anna Shawver, Apple Canyon Gourmet

Celebrating Native American Heritage month starts with teaching children the true history of Natives in America. Here are a few ways you can learn together, as well as teach your littles: 

• Discuss the truth about the real first Thanksgiving with kids. 
• Help kids understand that there were and are many different Native Tribes and cultures. Learn about the land you’re living on at https://native-land.ca/.  
• Watch educational videos. 
• Cook a Native dish together. Find inspiration for recipes at https://sweetgrasstradingco.com/recipes/.   

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