Updated: Nov 10
Last week kicked off Native American Heritage Month, a month federally recognized since 1990 but petitioned for consistently by prestigious individuals of Native communities since 1911.
Each year since 1994, the President has issued proclamations honoring the month. This year, part of the proclamation reads, “America has not always delivered on its promise of equal dignity and respect for Native Americans ... But despite this painful history, Indigenous peoples, their governments, and their communities have persevered and flourished. As teachers and scholars, scientists and doctors, writers and artists, business leaders and elected officials, heroes in uniform, and so much more, they have made immeasurable contributions to our country’s progress.”
Honestly, we hoped for more. This year’s proclamation falls short of acknowledging the true history of our government’s treatment of Native communities throughout history. In fact, it reminds us a lot of our current society’s use of the “Land Acknowledgement”. You’ve heard them, you’ve read them, you may have even crafted one for your business or organization.
Though the original patrons of the land are usually acknowledged, we have noticed that few and far between talk about the current Native communities that continue to make that land their home. Even fewer Land Acknowledgements talk about the ways they are giving back or honoring those communities in real-time. These communities are strong, connected and vibrant and they are not a thing of the past!
This November, we challenge you to think about the Land Acknowledgements you come in contact with. How can you, your business, your book club be better and more intentional about learning about and taking action for the Native communities that are your neighbors? How can you address this with your friends, peers and coworkers? Land Acknowledgments shouldn’t be the endpoint - they should be the start of your action.
Some ways you can be a better ally for Native communities:
Learn more about the Warm Springs, Paiute and Wasco people, especially what they are up to today!
Visit Warm Springs!
The Museum at Warm Springs - open Tues-Sat 9am-5pm
Check out Tananawit, a store selling local artisan crafts and jewelry
Attend the Pi-Ume-Sha Treaty Days Powwow - usually the last weekend in June
Start listening to Native America Calling
Start reading Native News Online
Another way to learn - Land Acknowledgement Hotline
Just text your zip code or your city and state (separated by a comma) and the bot will respond with the names of the Native lands that correspond to that region. (The service currently only works for US residents, but may be available for other countries in the future.)