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Native American Heritage Month: Home



Browse books, streaming videos, databases, and more from the SCC library and learn about Native American Heritage.

What is Native American Heritage Month?

"One of the very [first] proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y.  He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans” and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe Navajo woman and infantsuch a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens."

"The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994."

Adapted from:

Photo: Navajo Woman and Infant, Canyon de Chelle, Arizona." [Canyon de Chelly National Monument]. From: Series: Ansel Adams Photographs of National Parks and Monuments, compiled 1941 - 1942, documenting the period ca. 1933 – 1942.

Profile: Sharice Davids

Sharice Davids photograph"Sharice Davids was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in November 2018. She is a Democrat representing the Third Congressional District of Kansas. She and New Mexico's Deb Haaland, who was elected to the House at the same time, are the first Native American women elected to Congress. Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, a tribe based in Wisconsin. She is also the first openly lesbian woman to represent Kansas in Congress. Davids is an attorney and a former amateur and professional fighter in mixed martial arts (MMA)."

"Davids was named to the Committee on Small Business and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Her caucus memberships have included serving as co-chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and the New Democrat Coalition, and as vice chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. She was also named a vice chair of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Davids has introduced legislation to allow people to petition the Department of Justice to investigate voting complaints, voted for climate change-related legislation, and voted to reduce health care costs and prevent surprise medical bills."

Smuskiewicz, A. J. "Sharice Davids." The American Mosaic: The American Indian Experience, ABC-CLIO, 2023, Accessed 23 Oct. 2023.

Learn more about Sharice Davids. 

Browse selected titles below from the SCC Library then search for more print books and ebooks.

Browse Non Fiction ebooks from the SCC Library

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American Indian Image Makers of Hollywood

This book analyzes the representation of Native Americans in cinematic images from the 1890s to the present day, deconstructing key films in each decade. This book also addresses efforts by Native Americans to improve and have a part in their filmic representations, including mini-biographies of important indigenous filmmakers and performers.

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Rez Metal

Rez Metal captures the creative energy of Indigenous youth culture in the twenty-first century. Bridging communities from disparate corners of Indian Country and across generations, heavy metal has touched a collective nerve on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona in particular. Many cultural leaders--including former Navajo president Russell Begaye--have begun to recognize heavy metal's ability to inspire Navajo communities facing chronic challenges such as poverty, depression, and addiction.

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The First Code Talkers

Code talking originated in World War I among Native soldiers whose extraordinary service resulted, at long last, in U.S. citizenship for all Native Americans. The first full account of these forgotten soldiers in our nation's military history, The First Code Talkers covers all known Native American code talkers of World War I--members of the Choctaw, Oklahoma Cherokee, Comanche, Osage, and Sioux nations, as well as the Eastern Band of Cherokee and Ho-Chunk, whose veterans have yet to receive congressional recognition. 

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Send a Runner: A Navajo Honors the Long Walk

Send a Runner tells the story of a Navajo family using the power of running to honor their ancestors and the power of history to explain why the Long Walk happened. From these forces, they might also seek the vision of how the Diné--their people--will have a future.

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Religion and Culture in Native America

Religion and Culture in Native America presents an introduction to a diverse array of Indigenous religious and cultural practices in North America, focusing on those issues in which tribal communities themselves are currently invested. These topics include climate change, water rights, the protection of sacred places, the reclaiming of Indigenous foods, health and wellness, social justice, and the safety of Indigenous women and girls. 

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Native Foodways

Native Foodways is the first scholarly collection of essays devoted exclusively to the interplay of Indigenous religious traditions and foodways in North America. The essays discuss significant confluences in selected examples of these religious traditions and foodways, providing rich individual case studies informed by relevant historical, ethnographic, and comparative data. 

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Indigenous Firsts

A celebration of achievement, accomplishments, and courage! Native American Medal of Honor recipients, Heisman Trophy recipients, U.S. Olympians, a U.S. vice president, Congressional representatives, NASA astronauts, Pulitzer Prize recipients, U.S. poet laureates, Oscar winners, and more. Indigenous Firsts honors the ongoing and rich history of personal victories and triumphs. 

Indigenous Activism

Indigenous Activism profiles eighteen American Indian women of the twentieth century who distinguished themselves through their political activism. Authors analyze the colorful careers of selected Indigenous women of North America during the last century.

Browse Books by Native American Fiction Writers

There There

A wondrous and shattering award-winning novel that follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize.  It is fierce, funny, suspenseful, and impossible to put down--full of poetry and rage, exploding onto the page with urgency and force. There There is at once poignant and unflinching, utterly contemporary and truly unforgettable.

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Five Little Indians

Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention. Alone and without any skills, support or families, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn't want them. 

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Hunting by Stars

When plagues and natural disasters killed millions of people, much of the world stopped dreaming. Without dreams, people are haunted, sick, mad, unable to rebuild. The government soon finds that the Indigenous people of North America have retained their dreams, an ability rumored to be housed in the very marrow of their bones. Soon, residential schools pop up--or are reopened--across the land to bring in the dreamers and harvest their dreams. 


From two celebrated Indigenous creators comes a powerful graphic novel about a family caught between nations.   Borders is a masterfully told story of a boy and his mother whose road trip from Alberta to Salt Lake City is thwarted at the border when they identify their citizenship as Blackfoot. Refusing to identify as either American or Canadian first bars their entry into the US, and then their return into Canada. In the limbo between countries, they find power in their connection to their identity and to each other.    

The Only Good Indians

This story follows the lives of four American Indian men and their families, all haunted by a disturbing, deadly event that took place in their youth. Years later, they find themselves tracked by an entity bent on revenge, totally helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

The Night Watchman

Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich's grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.

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War Dances

Sherman Alexie delivers a virtuoso collection of tender, witty, and soulful stories that expertly capture modern relationships from the most diverse angles. War Dances brims with Alexie's poetic and revolutionary prose, and reminds us once again why he ranks as one of our country's finest writers. 

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Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light

In this gemlike volume, Harjo selects her best poems from across fifty years, beginning with her early discoveries of her own voice and ending with moving reflections on our contemporary moment. Generous notes on each poem offer insight into Harjo's inimitable poetics as she takes inspiration from Navajo horse songs and jazz, reckons with home and loss, and listens to the natural messengers of the earth.

Watch Streaming Videos from the SCC Library

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Inhabitants follows five Native American communities as they restore their traditional land management practices in the face of a changing climate.

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Warrior Lawyers

This documentary focuses on the stories of Midwest Native American lawyers, tribal judges, and their colleagues who work with Native nations, their citizens, and mainstream institutions to achieve sacred justice. These unseen role models strive daily to address and resolve unique and complicated historical, governmental, legal, judicial, and social welfare issues, which most often are rooted in discrimination, historical trauma, and cultural destruction. 

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Yolonda B. is an indigenous rights activist pushing for schools in Texas to change their mascots. She discusses becoming involved with the cause when Keller High School students reached out because they were not finding success.

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N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear

When N. Scott Momaday won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize, it marked one of the first major acknowledgments of Native American literature and culture. Now, Momaday’s words come to life in this biography of a celebrated Native American storyteller.

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The Warrior Tradition

The film tells the astonishing, heartbreaking, inspiring, and largely-untold story of Native Americans in the United States military. It chronicles the accounts of Native American warriors from their own points of view.

Library Databases For Researching Native American History

Find articles, images, and more in these library databases. 

Streaming Videos

Browse more streaming videos from the SCC Library.

General Research Resources