8 Ways to Celebrate Native American Heritage Month With Your Children
November is National Native American Heritage Month. This month gives us all the opportunity to honor the history and continuing culture of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.
Get your kids involved! Check out these family-friendly ideas to celebrate and learn about the Indigenous peoples of the United States.
1. Learn about the Native tribes in your area.
- Talk to your child about the people who first cared for the land where your family lives today.
- Click around Native Land’s online map to see federally recognized tribes where you live.
2. Check out Native American museums and cultural centers.
As much as possible, learn about Native cultures straight from the source, by researching local tribes and visiting their museums, cultural centers, and events.
- Wherever you live, you can visit the Museum of Indian Arts + Culture online.
- The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian offers an online exhibition, too, including a virtual art and history collection from tribes around the globe.
3. Take a deeper dive into Native American heritage sites.
Spend some time on the National Park Service’s Native American Heritage Month website, making it easy to discover important people and stories. Your family will learn about the U.S. parks, memorials, and historic sites that honor Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.
4. Read children’s books by or about Native Americans, Alaska Natives, or Native Hawaiians.
Ask your local librarian for their favorites! You can also find tons of book lists online. Here are a few to get you started:
- Social Justice Books breaks down categories for early childhood, upper elementary, young adult and adult readers.
- Reading Rocket shares books for ages 3 to 9.
- School Library Journal recommends books for teens and tweens.
5. Connect with the land.
Indigenous peoples have a special relationship with the natural world. This month, find ways for your child to deepen their own love for the land.
- Take a walk in the woods.
- Go stargazing.
- Make a craft with fall leaves.
- Clean up a neighborhood park.
- Take time to appreciate and give back to Mother Earth.
6. Learn about traditional Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian music and instruments.
For example, drums hold great cultural and symbolic power for many Native tribes. Grab a couple of pots and spoons, and set aside time for a family drum circle.
7. Sample authentic Native American food.
This is an excellent way to get kids involved in the kitchen! See what you can learn about local tribes, and the food they traditionally ate. (Hint: For many Indigenous peoples in America, the three staples are corn, beans and squash.) Then plan a special meal to feature them.
8. If you have younger kids, make a respectful Native craft.
The Internet has plenty of ideas to make crafts from. You can start at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, which shares video tutorials for a sunflower bracelet, summer strawberry, and cornhusk dragonfly.