Celebrating Native American Heritage Month 2016
This November is the 26th anniversary of Native American Heritage Month. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness of the over 15,000 homeless Native Americans in the country, of which over 1,250 are unaccompanied and parenting youth. Federal agencies as well as other organizations are encouraged to provide programs that celebrate and highlight Native American history, rights, culture, and contemporary issues.
Explore the resources and programs listed below to educate and enrich the lives of your organization’s members and the young people you serve:
Learn about Native American Heritage
- The Native American Heritage Month website lists a variety of upcoming events for young people at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the National Archives, and the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Youth may also enjoy listening to American Indian Flute Music and reading National Park Service Travel Itineraries.
- The U.S. Department of Education details 6 ways to learn more about American Indian culture.
Improve Local Communities
- The Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative challenges youth age 14-24, Indian Tribes, and non-profit organizations to improve their communities. Participating organizations can use toolkits provided by the National Native Network to recruit others, form youth organizations, and become community ambassadors.
- The National Park Service offers Tribal Heritage Grants and travel funds for Native American youth organizations. Their website also features Native American youth who aided National Park Service staff in treating invasive non-native trees along the San Juan River in Arizona.
Discover Resources to Support Native American Youth
- Researchers at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University explore the role culture, self-esteem, perceived mental and physical health and well-being, and social support played in the resilience of urban Native youth. The study reflects surveys of 196 Native American youth, age 14-18, from 20 different tribes.
- The Family and Youth Services Bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announces its 2016 Tribal Personal Responsibility Education Program Grant Awards.
- The National Indian Health Board features a toolkit focusing on the Affordable Healthcare Act for Native Youth. The toolkit includes brochures, posters, and a short video explaining the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and health insurance coverage.
- In a blog for the Department of Interior, Ann Marie Bledsoe Downe, Acting Director of the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), discusses BIE’s efforts to improve educational opportunities in tribal communities through the Blueprint for Reform program.
Engage Native American Youth
- The National Museum of the American Indian lists a variety of film festivals and youth programs throughout the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. Also listed are non-profit organizations that provide support and training for Native and indigenous youth who are interested in film and video making.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Native Youth Educational Services Workgroup provides information about programs and resources that address substance use disorders among Native youth.
- Examine the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Tribal Youth Programs and Services, helping tribal communities prevent victimization and juvenile delinquency, reduce violent crime, and improve tribal juvenile justice systems.