November is National Native American Heritage Month. APS recognizes the contributions and cultures of the Indigenous peoples across the North American continent, including those in Virginia.
Since 1990, Congress has authorized an annual presidential proclamation designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month to encourage a deeper understanding of the people and their cultures.
Such recognition, however, dates back further with state and organizational recognition of Indigenous peoples’ days and commemorations occurring at the turn of the twentieth century. For example, Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian and co-founder of the Society of American Indians in 1911, organized American Indian Day beginning in 1915. More recently, Columbus Day, recognized on the second Monday of October, has been reclaimed in cities across the United States as Indigenous People’s Day.
In Virginia, there are 11 recognized tribes dating back to the 17th Century. In 2010, the Patawomeck was recognized as an official tribe in present-day Stafford County. Over the four hundred years since the first permanent English settlement in Jamestown, Virginia’s natives have contributed to the rich history of the Commonwealth.
Learn more about National Native American Heritage Month and check out these books recommended by the Arlington Public Library from Native American Voices. Families are also encouraged to remind their children to browse the Native American book display in their school library or ask the librarian for book recommendations focused on Native Americans.