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Drexel Library

Native American Heritage Month Resource Guide

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with the Drexel University Libraries

Detail of "Waiting for Rain" by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Artist. May 10, 2012. Lithograph.

The Drexel University Libraries celebrates Native American Heritage Month in November and recognizes that the month is a "time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people."

“Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.” [via National Congress of American Indians]

This resource guide includes information and resources about just a few of the people and some of the research and creative works that have inspired us – and we hope they will inspire you throughout the year!

Be sure to keep checking this page for new resources and updates throughout the year!

About Native American Heritage Month

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans” and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day.

Learn more

Are You Using the Correct Terminology?

- Alaska Native refers to the indigenous people of the area. Native Alaskan is anyone from Alaska (including non-indigenous).

- American Indian Some tribes (and their associated parks) prefer Native American. Use specific tribal name(s) whenever possible, accurate, and appropriate. See also First Nations, tribal names.

- First Nation, First Nations Refers to aboriginal people in Canada who are neither Inuit (people of the Canadian Arctic) nor Métis (descendants of First Nation people who married Europeans). Often used in the plural in the collective sense, as in a program for First Nations youth. The term is widely used in Canada but is not used in the US, except in connection with Métis whose homelands include northwest Minnesota, North Dakota, or other northern states. See also American Indian.

- Native American Use if requested by specific tribes or parks. See American Indian.

Native Hawaiians “Native Hawaiian” is a racial classification used by the United States. Also known as Kanaka Maoli, this term refers to the indigenous or aboriginal people (and their descendants) of the Hawaiian Islands. Hawai'i is named after its native people. Living in Hawai'i doesn't make you Hawaiian, it makes you a resident of Hawai'i. [Indigenous people of Hawai'i are considered Native Hawaiians/Hawaiians; use "resident of Hawai'i" for all others living in Hawai'i to recognize this fact.]

- Tribal Name Use specific tribal name(s) whenever possible, accurate, and appropriate. Also the preference is to use the singular noun: Navajo, Lakota, Tlingit. See also American Indian. Examples: The Navajo entered Canyon de Chelly about 300 years ago. The Anishinaabek fished in Lake Superior.

Learn more via the National Park Service and Native America Today.

More on DEI from Drexel University Libraries

Photograph of book display in W. W. Hagerty Library 2022. Featuring brightly colored book titles and signage celebrating diversity, equity and inclusion.These guides provide resources and information about monthly heritage celebrations, available through the Drexel Libraries and other organizations. 

Contact us if you would like to share resources and other widely recognized cultural observances for consideration!