Friday, November 23, 2012

Native American Heritage Day

Today is Native American Heritage Day and I was hoping to provide a list of some activities in honor of this day, similar to my post last year on Presenting Native American Heritage Month and Thanksgiving. This post was to be a look at how Native American Heritage Day is presented in our culture. However, there are few events occurring on the actual day: most tribes, universities and organizations celebrated Native American Heritage Day earlier in the month. This is actually not all that surprising considering that Native American Heritage Day is designated as the day after Thanksgiving. If you actually want people to attend these events, it is impractical to schedule these on the actual day because people will be visiting family members.

This is saddening in many ways. The actual day is not celebrated and groups have had to adopt a different day. What is even more saddening is that the day after Thanksgiving is also commonly known as Black Friday-a day of shopping deals and sales. So although people are unable to attend Native American Heritage Day events because of being with family, people are able to go on crazy shopping sprees. I'm hoping these shopping sprees are a family event at least. And for people looking to participate in Native American Heritage Day, here is what I was able to find-

Amerind Museum near Tucson, AZ offers free admission on Native American Heritage Day

NABI Native American Heritage Day in Phoenix, AZ

A grand total of two events on the actual day. The more I think about this post, the more I begin to realize that looking for these type of events is a kind of a demand on Native American groups. I do not have Native American ancestors and yet had an expectation of Native American groups to be interacting with the public on this day. I really don't have any place to say how Native American Heritage Day should be celebrated and honored. That doesn't change my feelings that it absolutely should be honored and celebrated. Or my feelings that "Black Friday" is the exact opposite of honoring Native American Heritage. But perhaps, simply being aware of the day, being aware of the native first peoples and spending time with loved ones is the best way to celebrate and honor this national holiday.

Several museums have Native American Heritage Month exhibits which would be a great family activity during the last week of November.

Salish Bounty: Traditional Native American Foods of Puget Sound at the Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center in Marysville, Washington


Free admission to Cherokee Nation museums during Native American Heritage Month

Ute Indian Museum in Montrose, CO displays two photo exhibits for Native American Heritage Month

"Tuscarora Beadwork from 1812 to the present" at the Lewiston Opera Hall, Lewiston, NY


For other articles and thoughts on Native American Heritage Day and Thanksgiving from Native American perspectives-

Indian Country Today Media Network

Do American Indians Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Why Some Native Americans Can Laugh About Thanksgiving


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Archaeology, Conservation and Curation by Whitney Rose Petrey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License