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Native American Heritage Month
November 15, 2021
2021

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, where we celebrate the culture, traditions, and accomplishments of the Native American community through their lens. Today, some of the largest Native American tribes include Cherokee, Navajo, Choctaw, Chippewa, Sioux, Apache, Blackfeet, Muscogee, Iroquois, and Lumbee, among others. In the wake of a more transparent society, we honor and listen to the community who have felt repressed by the very country they inhabited first. Indigenous influencers on social media have shared their experiences, traditions, and perspectives, encouraging viewers to appreciate, not appropriate.

You likely have benefited or enjoyed a contribution Native Americans brought to society, such as mouth wash, syringes, raised bed agriculture, and corn. According to history.com, Native Americans are responsible for more ingenuity and knowledge than we know. Natives taught European colonists how to use corn. Today, corn is America’s largest crop. Apart from the apparent food dishes, you can find corn everywhere, from toothpaste and ice cream to diapers and shampoo. The USDA reported U.S. farmers planted 91.7 million acres of corn in 2019 alone. 

Though Europeans appropriated many Native American inventions, rubber was a material developed by Native Americans. Can you imagine life without it? From these staples to kayaks, snow goggles, cable suspension bridges, and baby bottles— we have so much to celebrate and thank the Native Americans for.

When it comes to hair, there’s perhaps no community that reveres it more than indigenous people. We see the lifelong, intimate extension of self that hair is for indigenous people as we look beyond braids. It holds strength and resilience that is passed down through generations. From childhood, hair is the root of the nurturing bond between families that begins with braiding children’s hair. For men, hair is a symbol of political and cultural pride. Indigenous hairstyles have been used throughout history amongst tribes to identify one another. Although many people associate indigenous hair with feathers and braids, too often appropriated, indigenous hair is far more than a style.


As we embark on a month dedicated to celebrating rich indigenous cultures, we honor the opportunity we have to learn by listening to indigenous people. 

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