Although it is not a federal holiday, 17 states have holidays honoring Native Americans, some of which are on the second Monday in October, according to the Pew Research Center. Recently, President Biden issued a proclamation that Monday, Oct. 9, 2023 should be a day to honor Native Americans and their “resilience, strength, and perseverance” and “determination to preserve cultures, identities, and ways of life,” even as they have faced “violence and devastation”. This is the third time a US President has done so and the day provides a wonderful opportunity for families to learn about and reflect upon the experience of Indigenous people and to be inspired by their incredible contributions. Here are some ideas for doing so, both on October 9 and in the years ahead.
Learn: Take an Indigenous-led class to learn traditional skills or better understand indigenous culture and activism
Read: We can all share in the rich life, culture and traditions of Indigenous people through books by Indigenous authors. The moving poetry and stories of Joy Harjo, member of the Mvskoke Nation and the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, is a great place to start and you can find works every member of your family will enjoy. Here is a great list of books by Indigenous authors just for kids from the Seattle Public Library. And for adults, the list of forthcoming books from Publishers Weekly.
Shop: Buy from an Indigenous business
Support: Give to a cause that uplifts Indigenous People
Visit: Museums in many cities are devoted to or have exhibitions exploring Indigenous life and culture, including that of local tribes. Here are a few:
- National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC & NY, NY
- Burke Museum in Seattle, WA
- The Journey Museum and Learning Center in Rapid City, SD
- Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ
- Museum of Native American History in Bentonville, AR
- Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki, Clewiston, FL
Watch: Kids of all ages can find fun, inspiring movies and TV shows that celebrate Indigenous people in this list from Common Sense Media.