• November is Native American Heritage Month

    In the United States, heritage and history months are periods within the year that are designated to celebrate and acknowledge the many cultures that make up our nation.  They provide an opportunity to recognize the contributions of various groups and to investigate the rich cultural identities around us.  

    No matter the grade level or curriculum focus, CPS articulates a scope and sequence that focuses on identity and “continuity and change” over time, in grades K-12. This allows students to explore the history of indigenous peoples and the importance and significance of diversity and the changes/effects (including negatives) that are outcomes of power distribution, colonialism, imperialism, etc. 

    Federal and State Recognition of Native American Heritage Month 

    In 1990, the United States Congress passed a joint resolution bill that designated November National Native American Heritage Month.  To learn more, see the Library of Congress Native American Heritage Month website.  

    Missouri House Bill 2310, 9.356 designates the month of November as Native American Heritage Month in Missouri.   

    Leaders, You Should Know

    White Cloud was a leader of the Ioway during a time when settlers inundated the Ioways’ land in Iowa and Missouri. Faced with the task of leading his people through the tumultuous changes, he was counseled by some to resist the white settlers.  However, White Cloud believed that the Ioways must work with the newcomers to ensure the survival of the Ioway.  When the Missouri territory joined the United States, White Cloud recognized the U.S. government and laws. The Ioway Nation has survived.   (Estimated 1784 – 1834)   

    Wes Studi, Cherokee Nation, is a national leader in the promotion and preservation of Indigenous languages and has written two children’s books for the Cherokee Bilingual/Cross-Cultural Education Center.  He is probably best known as an award-winning actor who starred in movies such as “Dances with Wolves”, “The Last of the Mohicans”, and “Avatar”.  In 2019, Mr. Studi received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Governors Award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures.  (1947 – present)

    Lucy Covington, Colville Tribes, was an activist and civil rights leader who fought against the "termination” bills* of the 1950s and 1960s in which Congress sought to abandon treaties made with Native Americans.  These policies would remove tribal control of land and natural resources as well as remove the tribal status.  She traveled to Washington, D.C. many times to gain support for Native American rights and to lobby against the termination laws proposed by Congress.   Ms. Covington advocated for the protection of tribal rights, resources, and benefits for tribal citizens.   She was one of the founders of the movement which moved U.S. policy from termination to independence and autonomy.   (1910 – 1982) 

    * Louise Erdrich, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for her book The Night Watchman, which is based on her grandfather’s fight against a termination bill designed to displace and eliminate their tribe in the 1950s. Ms. Erdrich is a best-selling and multi-award-winning author whose books explore her Native American heritage.  (1954 – present) 

    Outside Resources

    Wes Studi:  Native American Hall of Fame

    Lucy Covington:  Native American Hall of Fame, Eastern Washington University Foundation

    Louise Erdrich:  Native American Hall of Fame, The Pulitzer Prizes