Women’s History Month 2021

March is Women's History Month! Indian Affairs will be celebrating American Indian and Alaska Native Women who helped shape our world. Features on AI/AN women like Denise Juneau, Joy Harjo, Elizabeth Peratrovich and Wilma Mankiller will be released March 2021.

  • Mathilda “Tillie” Black Bear (?-2014)

    Mathilda “Tillie” Black Bear

    Rosebud (Sicanju) Sioux; women’s health and safety advocate. A victim herself of domestic abuse and considered by many to be the mother and grandmother of the battered Native women’s movement, she is credited with being the first to bring national attention to the issue of abuse committed against American Indian women when she testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ hearing on battered women in 1978. She founded the first battered women’s shelter in the Lower 48 states – the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota – and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. Her advocacy for protecting Native women from abuse led to many positive results such as including tribes in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Among the honors she received for her work was the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award by President Clinton in 2000.

  • Denise Juneau (b. 1967)

    Denise Juneu

    Mandan-Hidatsa (enrolled)/Blackfeet/Tlingit and Haida; advocate, lawyer, educator, government official. Raised on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana where she graduated from Browning Public High School in 1985, Juneau went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in English from Montana State University (1993) and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (1994). She later graduated from the University of Montana Law School (2004). Her years of working in education and the law in Montana led to her seeking the post of Superintendent for Public Instruction, which she campaigned for and won in 2008 making her the first American Indian woman elected to statewide office in Montana. In 2018, she was elected by the Seattle Public Schools board to become superintendent of the city’s public school system. Her commitment to education and students has been recognized by the National Indian Education Association (Educator of the Year 2009) and the Harvard Graduate School of Education with its Alumni Council Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education (2015), among other honors.

  • Dr. Susan La Fleche Picotti (1865-1915)

    Susan La Fleche Picottie” Black Bear

    Omaha; teacher, doctor, advocate. Born on the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska and attending school there, La Fleche eventually left for a school for young women in New Jersey, returning home at 17 to teach at the reservation’s Quaker mission school. The denial of health care to an American Indian woman by a white male doctor that she witnessed in her youth inspired La Fleche to finish her education and obtain a medical degree. With scholarship funds from the U.S. Indian Affairs Office (BIA) and the Connecticut Indian Association of the Women’s National Indian Association, she attended the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania where she graduated in 1889, thus making her the first American Indian woman in the United States to receive a medical degree. After completing a year-long internship, she again returned home to provide health care to her people. In 1906, she travelled to Washington, D.C., to press for prohibiting alcohol on the Omaha Reservation, where in 1913 she opened a hospital.

  • Mary Golda Ross (1908-2008)

    Mary Golda Ross

    Cherokee; teacher, mathematician, aerospace engineer. A direct descendent of Cherokee Chief John Ross and one of America’s first female American Indian engineers, she worked on developing launch and orbiting requirements for NASA’s Agena spacecraft used in its Gemini and Apollo programs of the 1960s. Prior to that time, with a degree in mathematics from Oklahoma’s Northeastern State Teacher’s College, she taught in state schools, later working for the BIA as a statistician and the Institute of American Indian Arts as a student advisor. In retirement, she encouraged young people, especially American Indians, to work in technology. In 2019, the U.S. Mint issued a $1 coin and $1 Series 2017 bank note to recognize and honor her.

  • Annie Dodge Wauneka (1910-1997)

    Annie Dodge Wauneka” Black Bear

    Navajo (Diné); health care advocate, educator, government leader. A BIA boarding school student who survived the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19, she witnessed how important health care was to her fellow students and family. After her marriage, she went on to pursue her education in the field of public health and brought that knowledge to the Navajo people. Eventually, she sought a seat on the tribal council where she could further her goal of improving health care on the Navajo Reservation, especially in combatting tuberculosis. In 1951, she became the Nation’s first female tribal council member, eventually serving three terms, which gave her the platform she needed for her public health advocacy. In the 1950s, she earned a bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of Arizona, which in 1976 awarded her an honorary doctorate in public health. She served on advisory boards to the U.S. Public Health Service and the U.S. Surgeon General. Among the many honors she received for her work, which included developing an English-Navajo dictionary for translating medical terms and techniques, was the Presidential Medal of Freedom given to her by President Johnson in 1963.

  • Diane Humetewa (b. 1964)

    Diane Humetewa

    Hopi; lawyer, educator, victims advocate, jurist. The daughter of a BIA employee, she was born and raised on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona but started school on the Hualapai Reservation. She matriculated at Arizona State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1987 and law degree from ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in 1993. Starting in 1996, when she worked as a tribal liaison in the U.S. Attorney General’s office in Arizona, she later served as its senior litigation counsel from 2001 to 2007. In 2007 she was nominated and confirmed as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona – the first American Indian woman to do so. Before becoming U.S. Attorney General, she had served as a judge pro tem on the Hopi Tribal Appellate Court, among other roles she held including teaching law, advocating for crime victims, and highlighting the need for more American Indians to become federal judges. After leaving the bench in 2009, she joined ASU in 2011 as special advisor to the president for American Indian Affairs and special counsel in the university’s Office of General Counsel. In 2014 she was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by a 96-0 vote by the U.S. Senate as the nation’s third American Indian and first female American Indian to become a federal judge. She continues to serve as the U.S. District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.

  • Peggy Flanagan (b. 1979)

    Peggy Flanagan

    White Earth Band of Ojibwe-Minnesota Chippewa Tribe; school board member, state legislator, advocate, government executive. Educated in her hometown public school system and earning a bachelor’s degree in American Indian studies and child psychology from the University of Minnesota (2002), she has been a strong advocate for improving the well-being of children in her state. She served on the Minneapolis School Board (2005-2009) and later as executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota. In 2015, she was elected to the Minnesota state legislature where she focused on education, health, and economic opportunities for people and communities of color in the state. In 2018, she became the first American Indian woman elected to executive office Minnesota when she won her campaign to become the state’s lieutenant governor.

  • Hilary Tompkins (b. 1968?)

    Hilary Tompkins

    Navajo (Diné): attorney, law professor, government official. Adopted by a Quaker family while an infant in foster care in Gallup, New Mexico, and raised in New Jersey, Tompkins after high school entered Dartmouth College on a Navajo Nation Chief Manuelito Scholarship. After graduating with a B.A. degree in 1990, she returned to the Navajo Reservation. Starting with working in the Navajo Nation’s court system and earning her law degree from Stanford University Law School, where she was associate editor of the Law Review, her career path, which included time as a professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law, led her to becoming the first American Indian woman to be nominated and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2009 as Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

  • Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010)

    Wilma Mankiller

    Cherokee Nation; activist, tribal leader, author. Although born in Oklahoma, while in her teens moved with her family to San Francisco where her interest in American Indian activists trying to bring public attention to the needs of their people inspired her to join them. After moving back to the Cherokee Nation, she became an advocate for bringing needed water infrastructure and other improvements to her community. Eventually, her activism and leadership let to her first becoming the Nation’s deputy principal chief. In 1985, she ascended to the Principal Chief’s post, thereby becoming the first woman to hold the position. In 1987, despite threats to her personal safety, she ran for and was elected Principal Chief in her own right. She served two four-year terms (1987-1995). In 1993, her autobiography was published. In addition to the many recognitions she received during her life, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton in 1998.

  • Eloise Cobell (1945-2011)

    Eloise Cobell

    Blackfeet; banker, businesswoman, advocate.  A descendent of Blackfeet leader Mountain Chief, she grew up learning just how little she and other tribal members knew about how the Federal Government managed their trust fund accounts.  After becoming an accountant and later earning a business degree, she became the lead plaintiff in a successful legal fight on behalf of thousands of American Indians seeking a true accounting of their trust funds.  She also co-founded the country’s first tribally owned bank, was a strong proponent of financial literacy for American Indians, and in addition to other recognitions for her work, was in 2016 posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama, the nation’s highest award that can be bestowed on civilians.  In 2015, the governor of Montana proclaimed November 5 as “Eloise Cobell Day.” 

  • Ada Deer, (b. 1935)

    Ada Deer

    Menominee; activist, political candidate, educator, tribal leader, government official.  She accomplished many firsts: the first of her tribe to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (B.A. in social work, 1957); the first Native American to receive a master’s in social work from Columbia University (1961); the first chairperson of the Menominee Tribe after its restoration to federal recognition status (1974-1976); the first Native American woman from Wisconsin to run for Congress (1992); and the first American Indian woman to serve as the Interior Department’s Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs (1993-1997).  Her strong leadership as chair of the grassroots organization DRUMS (Determination of Right and Unity for Menominee Shareholders) helped her tribe regain its federal recognition status in 1973.  From 1977 to 1993, she lectured at UW-Madison’s American Indian Studies Program and taught at its School of Social Studies.  From 2000 to 2007, she directed the university’s American Indian Studies Program.  In 2010 she was recognized by the National Association of Social Workers for her work and advocacy on behalf of American Indians.  She has remained an active advocate for her tribe and all Native Americans. 

  • Katie John (1915-2013)

    Katie John

    Ahtna Athabascan; teacher, culture bearer, subsistence rights advocate.  Raised from infancy in the traditional subsistence culture of her people, John reared her children and descendants in that lifestyle while also adapting herself to living in non-Native society.  At age 14 she began learning English, later teaching her children and grandchildren the Ahtna Athabascan language.  That led to her helping create an alphabet for the language and sound recordings as teaching and preservation tools.  She is most famous for her successful legal fight to protect and preserve Alaska Native subsistence rights.  In 2011, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in laws from the University of Alaska for her language preservation and subsistence rights work.  In 2019, the Alaska governor signed legislation making May 31 “Katie John Day.” 

  • Elizabeth Peratrovich (1911-1958)

    Elizabeth Peratrovich

    Tlingit; civil rights advocate. After enduring years of discrimination against Alaska Natives in the state, her efforts led to the passage in 1945 of anti-discrimination legislation by the Alaska territorial government – the first anti-discrimination law in the United States and one that pre-dated the United States’ Civil Rights Act by almost 20 years.  The bill’s signing date – February 16 – is known in Alaska as “Elizabeth Peratrovich Day.”  In 2020, the United States Mint issued a $1 coin to recognize and honor her. 

  • Sarah Winnemucca (1844-1891)

    Sarah Winnemucca 

    Paiute; advocate, educator, and writer/author.  She advocated for her people and American Indians in general to receive better treatment and protection by the U.S. Government.  Her autobiography in 1883 is the first book written by a Native American woman.  Fluent in three languages – Paiute, Spanish and English – she started a school for American Indian children where they were taught in their Native language and in English.  The state of Nevada chose her to represent it in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall where her statue was added in 2005. 

  • Nora Marks Dauenhauer (1927-2017)

    Nora Marks Dauenhauer

    Tlingit; teacher, linguist, award-winning author, poet and playwright.  Born into the traditional Tlingit culture, she spoke only Tlingit until the age of eight when she began learning English.  After earning a GED in the early 1970s, she went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from Alaska Methodist University in Anchorage.  She published her first book of poetry in 1988.  She went on to produce other poetry and prose works, conducted research on the Tlingit language to aid in its preservation and maintain its vitality as a living language, and was honored many times for her work including the American Book Award in 1991 and 2008 and becoming in 2012 the first Alaska Native woman to be named Writer Laureate for the state of Alaska. 

  • Joy Harjo (b. 1951)

    Joy Harjo

    Muscogee Creek; award-winning author, playwright, poet, and musician.  Currently the nation’s 23rd United States Poet Laureate.  A student at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), she went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Mexico and in 1978 a master’s in fine arts from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.  A prolific writer, she has published several volumes of poetry, non-fiction, children’s books, and other texts, and has been the recipient of numerous literary awards for her works.  As a recording and touring musician and record producer, she has also received much recognition for her accomplishments in that field including receiving the 2009 Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year. In June 2019, she became the first Native American to be appointed U.S. Poet Laureate, and the first from Oklahoma, to which she was reappointed in April 2020, and again in November 2020 – only the second laureate to have a third term. 

  • Louise Erdrich (b. 1954)

    Louise Erdrich

    Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa; award-winning poet, fiction and non-fiction author, bookseller. The child of BIA school teachers, she was part of the first class of women admitted to Dartmouth College where she received her bachelor’s degree (1976) and later earned a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University (1979). Early in her career, she worked as an editor for the Boston Indian Council’s Circle newspaper. Her first novel, Love Medicine, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and her first book of poetry, Jacklight, were both published in 1984. Since then, she has produced several award-winning works of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Her novel The Plague of Doves was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Another novel, The Round House, won the 2012 National Book Award. She has been the proprietor of the Minneapolis-based Birchbark Books, Herbs, and Native Arts store since 1999.

  • Michaela Goade (b. 1991?)

    Michaela Goade

    Tlingit; artist, award-winning book illustrator. She is the first Native American to win the American Library Association’s Randolph Caldecott Medal for her illustrations in the children’s book We Are Water Protectors (Roaring Book Press, March 2020). 

  • The Five Moons

    Five Moons

    Rosella Hightower (1920-2008), Choctaw; 11 Yvonne Chouteau (1929-2016), Shawnee-Cherokee; 12 Moscelyne Larkin (1925-2012), Shawnee-Peoria; 13 Maria Tallchief (1925-2013), Osage; 14 Marjorie Tall Chief (b. 1927), Osage; ballet dancers and instructors.  These five American Indian women from Oklahoma became nationally and internationally renowned in the 1940s and 1950s for their artistry and technical skills in the ballet.  They performed with some of the most prestigious ballet companies and dancers of their time, and afterward founded ballet dance companies and teaching programs.  In addition to honors recognizing them individually, The Five Moons have been honored as a group: with a ballet (1961), the mural, Flight of Spirit, in the Oklahoma State Capitol building (1991), The Five Moons sculpture at the Tulsa Historical Society (1997), and being named Oklahoma Treasures (1997). 

Here are some themes used by the Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior for past celebrations.

2020 - "Resilient & Enduring: We are Native People.” Flyer
Live Stream: www.doi.gov/events 
2019 - "Honor the Past, Embrace the Future” Flyer
2018 - “Empowering Indian Country” Flyer
2017 - "Standing Together" Flyer
2016 - "Serving Our Nations' Flyer
2015 - "Growing Native Leaders: Enhancing Our Seven Generations"
            Opening Ceremony Program
            Never Again Apology: 15-Year Anniversary Flyer
            Never Again Apology: 15-Year Anniversary Program 
            Never Again Apology Speech Sept 8, 2000 2014 Event Photos
2014 - "Native Pride and Spirit: Yesterday, Today and Forever."Poster Event Photos
2013 - "Guiding Our Destiny with Heritage and Tradition"
2012 - "Serving Our People, Serving Our Nations;  Honoring Those That Served Our Country"
2011 - "Celebrating Our Ancestors and Leaders of Tomorrow"
2010 – “Life is Sacred – Celebrate Healthy Native Communities”
2009 – “Pride in Our Heritage With Gratitude to Our Elders”
2008 – “Tribes Facing Challenges: In Unity, Transforming Hope into Strengths”
2007 – “Keeping in Step to the Heartbeat of the Drum as We Unite as One”
2006 – “Tribal Diversity: Weaving Together Our Traditions”
2005 – “Knowledge of the Past/Wisdom for the Future”
2004 – “Native Nations: Continuing in the New Millennium”
2003 – “A Celebration of the American Indian Spirit”
2002 - "Celebrating Our Past, Creating Our Future"
1989 - National American Indian Heritage Week Program

Additional Links:

For almost one hundred years, Americans both Indian and non-Indian have urged that there be permanently designated by the nation a special place on the calendar to honor the contributions, achievements, sacrifices, and cultural and historical legacy of the original inhabitants of what is now the United States and their descendants: the American Indian and Alaska Native people.

The quest for a national honoring of Native Americans began in the early 20th Century as a private effort. As far back as the late 1970s, Congress has enacted legislation and subsequent presidents have issued annual proclamations designating a day, a week or a month to celebrate and commemorate the nation’s American Indian and Alaska Native heritage. In 2009, Congress passed and the President signed legislation that established the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving Day of each year as “Native American Heritage Day.”

Honoring and Citizenship: Early Advocates

After 1900, one of the earliest proponents of a day honoring American Indians was Dr. Arthur Caswell Parker (b. 1881, d. 1955), a Cattaraugus Seneca and the director of the Rochester Museum in New York (now the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences). Dr. Parker (Gawasco Waneh) was a noted anthropologist, historian and author whose great-uncle was Brigadier General Ely S. Parker, secretary to General Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War and the first American Indian to serve as Commissioner of Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior. Dr. Parker also served as the first president of the Society for American Archaeology (1935-36).

Dr. Parker was a founder of a number of American Indian rights organizations, including the Society of American Indians (SAI) in 1911 and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in 1944, and advocated for American Indians to be given U.S. citizenship. He was successful in persuading the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans,” which they did from 1912 to 1915.

In the spring of 1914, another Indian rights advocate, the Reverend Red Fox James (b. 1890-95, d. ?), also known as Red Fox Skiukusha, whose tribal identity is undetermined, began a 4,000-mile trek on horseback to Washington, D.C., to petition the president for an “Indian Day.” The next year, again on horseback, he travelled state-to-state seeking gubernatorial support for U.S. citizenship to be extended to American Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented to the White House the endorsements of 24 governors. In 1919, he petitioned the state of Washington to designate the fourth Saturday in September as an “Indian holiday.”

Also in 1915, the Congress of the American Indian Association, meeting in Lawrence, Kansas, directed its president, the Reverend Sherman Coolidge (1862-1932), an Arapaho minister and one of the founders of the SAI, to call upon the nation to observe a day for American Indians. On September 18, 1915, he issued a proclamation declaring the second Saturday of each May as “American Indian Day” and appealing for U.S. citizenship for American Indians.

In 1924, Congress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act extending citizenship to all U.S.-born American Indians not already covered by treaty or other federal agreements that granted such status. The act was later amended to include Alaska Natives.

State Observances

The first time an American Indian Day was formally designated in the U.S. may have been in 1916, when the governor of New York fixed the second Saturday in May for his state’s observance. Several states celebrated the fourth Friday in September as American Indian Day. In 1919, the Illinois state legislature enacted a bill doing so. In Massachusetts, the governor issued a proclamation, in accordance with a 1935 law, naming the day that would become American Indian Day in any given year.

In 1968, California Governor Ronald Reagan signed a resolution designating the fourth Friday in September as American Indian Day. In 1998, the California State Assembly enacted legislation creating Native American Day as an official state holiday.

In 1989, the South Dakota state legislature passed a bill proclaiming 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation” between the state’s American Indian and White citizens. Pursuant to that act, South Dakota Governor George S. Mickelson designated Columbus Day as the state’s American Indian Day, thereby making it a state-sanctioned holiday.

For more information about state designations for American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native American heritage observations or celebrations, contact directly the state(s) you are interested in.

1992 – The Year of the American Indian 

The 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the western hemisphere in 1492 was the occasion for national and local celebrations. However, for Native people it was an occasion they could neither fully embrace nor participate in.

Congress acknowledged their concerns regarding the Columbus Quincentennial by enacting Senate Joint Resolution 217 (Pub. L. 102-188) which designated 1992 as the “Year of the American Indian.” It was signed by President George H.W. Bush on December 4, 1991. Pursuant to that act, President Bush issued on March 2, 1992, Proclamation 6407 announcing 1992 as the “Year of the American Indian.”

The American Indian response to the anniversary was marked by public protests. Yet, it also was seen by many in that community as a special, year-long opportunity to hold public education events, commemorations of ancestral sacrifices and contributions to America, and celebrations for the survival of Native peoples over five centuries.

Federal Observances

In 1976, the United States’ bicentennial year, Congress passed a resolution authorizing President Ford to proclaim a week in October as “Native American Awareness Week.” On October 8, 1976, he issued his presidential proclamation doing so. Since then, Congress and the President have observed a day, a week or a month in honor of the American Indian and Alaska Native people. And while the proclamations do not set a national theme for the observance, they do allow each federal department and agency to develop their own ways of celebrating and honoring the nation’s Native American heritage.

1976: Senate Joint Resolution 209 authorizes President Gerald R. Ford to proclaim October 10-16, 1976 as “Native American Awareness Week.”
1983: President Ronald Reagan designates May 13, 1983 as “American Indian Day.”
1986: President Reagan signs on October 14 Senate Joint Resolution 390 (Pub. L. 99-471) which designates November 23-30, 1986 as “American Indian Week.” He issues Proclamation 5577 on November 24, 1986.
1987: Pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 53 (Pub. L. 100-171), President Reagan proclaims November 22-28, 1987 as “American Indian Week.”
1988: President Reagan signs on September 23 a Senate Joint Resolution (Pub. L. 100-450) designating September 23-30, 1988 as “National American Indian Heritage Week.”
1989: Pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 218 (Pub. L. 101-188), President George Herbert Walker Bush issues a proclamation on December 5 designating December 3-9, 1989 as “National American Indian Heritage Week.”
1990: President George H.W. Bush approves on August 3 House Joint Resolution 577 (Pub. L. 101-343) designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” He issues Proclamation 6230 on November 14, 1990.
1991: Congress passes Senate Joint Resolution 172 (Pub. L. 102-123) which “authorize[s] and request[s] the President to proclaim the month of November 1991, and the month of each November thereafter, as ‘American Indian Heritage Month.’” President Bush issues Proclamation 6368 on October 30, 1991
1992 President George H.W. Bush issues on March 2 a proclamation designating 1992, which is also the Columbus Quincentennial, the “Year of the American Indian.” He does so pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 217 (Pub. L. 102-188), which he signed on December 4, 1991.
1992: President George H.W. Bush issues on November 25 Proclamation 6511 designating November 1992 as "National American Indian Heritage Month."
1993: Congress passes Pub. L. 103-462 authorizing the President to proclaim November 1993 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
1994: President William Jefferson Clinton issues on November 5 Proclamation 6756 designating November 1994 as “National American Indian Heritage Month,” pursuant to Pub. L. 103-462.
1995: President Clinton issues on November 2 Proclamation 6847 designating November 1995 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
1996: President Clinton issues on October 29 Proclamation 6949 designating November 1996 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
1997: President Clinton issues on November 1 Proclamation 7047 designating November 1997 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
1998: President Clinton issues on October 29 Proclamation 7144 designating November 1998 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
1999: President Clinton issues on November 1 Proclamation 7247 designating November 1999 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
2000: President Clinton issues on November 8 Proclamation 7372 designating November 2000 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
2001: President George W. Bush issues on November 12 Proclamation 7500 designating November 2001 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
2002: President Bush issues on November 1 Proclamation 7620 designating November 2002 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” 
2003: President Bush issues on November 14 Proclamation 7735 designating November 2003 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
2004: President Bush issues on November 4 Proclamation 7840 designating November 2004 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
2005: President Bush issues on November 2 Proclamation 7956 designating November 2005 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
2006: President Bush issues on October 30 Proclamation 8076 designating November 2006 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
2007: President Bush issues on October 31 Proclamation 8196 designating November 2007 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
2008: President Bush issues on October 30 Proclamation 8313 designating November 2008 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Congress passes House Joint Resolution 62 designating the day after Thanksgiving Day, Friday, November 28, as “Native American Heritage Day”.
2009: Congress passes House Joint Resolution 40 (Pub. L. 111-33), the “Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009”, which designates the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving Day of each year as “Native American Heritage Day.” President Barack Obama signs the legislation on June 26. On October 30 he issues a proclamation designating November 2009 as “National Native American Heritage Month” and November 27, 2009 as Native American Heritage Day.”
2010: President Obama issues on October 29 Proclamation 8595 designating November 2010 as “National Native American Heritage Month.”
2011: President Obama issues on November 1 Proclamation 8749 designating November 2011 as "National Native American Heritage Month."
2012: President Obama issues on November 1 a proclamation designating November 2012 as "National Native American Heritage Month" and November 23, 2012, as "Native American Heritage Day."
2013: President Obama issues on October 31 a proclamation designating November 2013 as "National Native American Heritage Month."
2014: President Obama issues on October 31 a proclamation designating November 2014 as "National Native American Heritage Month."
2015: President Obama issues on October 30 a proclamation designating November 2015 as "National Native American Heritage Month."
2016: President Obama issues on October 31, 2016 a proclamation designating November 2016 as "National Native American Heritage Month."
2017: President Donald J. Trump proclaims November 2017 as National Native American Heritage Month.
2017: President Donald J. Trump proclaims November 2017 as National Native American Heritage Month.
2017: President Donald J. Trump proclaims November 2017 as National Native American Heritage Month.

We encourage people to participate in social media campaigns to add their voice to Native American Heritage Month. Below are efforts you may participate in:

Graphics and Media

Below are some graphics for you to use. They have this year's them "Resilient & Enduring: We Are Native People." Click to download and post on your social media feeds using the hashtags below.

November 11 – Veterans Day

American Indians and Alaska Natives answer the call of duty and defend our Nation's precious liberties at one of the highest rates of any ethnic group in the United States, serving admirably in every branch of our military. Today, 31,000 courageous men and women from American Indian and Alaska Native communities serve on active duty in our Armed Forces.

  • #VeteransDay2020
  • @NativeVets - Native American Veterans Assistance is a small nonprofit helping Native American veterans on reservations with a hand-up.

November 15 - Rock Your Mocs 2020

Established in 2011, Rock Your Mocs, is a worldwide Indigenous Peoples, American Indian and Alaska Native grassroots movement held annually in the U.S. during Native American Heritage Month (November). This social media campaign is held to inspire cultural pride for American Indians and Alaska Natives and to showcase individual tribal identity that also honors our ancestors.
It’s easy to participate, simply wear moccasins! Or if you don’t own or can’t wear mocs (perhaps your tribe didn’t wear mocs), wear a Turquoise Ribbon or Apparel instead. You can also use the hashtag(s) #RockYourMocs or #RockYourMocs2020 on your personal social media channels.

  • #RockYourMocs
  • #RockYourMocs2020

November 19 - Red Shawl Day

The Violence Against Women Act of 2005 clarified that the unique legal relationship of the United States to Indian tribes creates a federal trust responsibility to assist tribal governments in safeguarding the lives of Native women. For the week of November 15-21st, wear red to draw attention to the horrible acts of violence committed against American Indian and Alaska Native people, particularly women and children. Red symbolizes the loss of sacred life blood through violence. Add to the bigger conversation by using #RedShawlWeek on your social media channels. We will also be highlighting efforts and resources throughout this week; including Operation Lady Justice

  • #RedShawlWeek

November 28 - Thanksgiving

  • #GiveThanks

November 29 - Native American Heritage Day

  • #NativeAmericanHeritageDay