Native American and Alaskan Native Heritage Month began as a concerted effort at the turn of the century to recognize significant contributions made by the first Americans to U.S. culture and its growth and ultimately resulted in the the month of November being designated for that purpose.
Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian and director of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Rochester, New York, was one of the first advocates of an American Indian Day. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the "First Americans," which they did for three years. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association approval a plan to nationally recognize American Indian Day; its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge issued a proclamation on September 28, 1915, declaring the second Saturday of each May as American Indian Day. More importantly, the proclamation contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.
The year before Coolidge issue his proclamation, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode on horseback from state to state, seeking endorsements for a day honoring Indians. On December 14, 1915, these endorsements from 24 state governments were presented to the White House, but unfortunately, no record exists of such a national day being proclaimed.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November as "National American Indian Heritage Month." Since 1994, similar proclamations have been issued by the federal government.
Image credit: Jicarilla Maiden, North American Indian Photography of Edward Curtis (Smithsonian Institute)
Indigenous Language Institute: Provides vital language related service to Native communities so that their individual identities, traditional wisdom, and values are passed on to future generations in their original languages.
American Indian Language Development Institute (University of Arizona): Provides critical training to strengthen efforts to revitalize and promote the use of Indigenous languages across generations.
The Ways: Stories on culture & language from Native communities around the Central Great Lakes.
Alaska Native Language Center (University of Alaska at Fairbanks): Alaska is home to at least 20 distinct indigenous languages. More than just dialectical variants, these different languages reflect the diverse cultural heritage of Alaska's Native peoples.
Sexual and Gender Diversity in Native America and the Pacific Islands (from LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History, a publication of the National Park Foundation and National Park Service)