For those who call Nebraska ‘home,’ we are on the native land of the Pawnee, Omaha, Cheyenne, Oglala, and many others. Native American Heritage Month is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the continuing contributions of Native Americans in our communities and throughout the state of Nebraska. It is an opportunity to read the works of Native authors and poets. Learn more about the land you inhabit and who is indigenous to this land with this interactive map.
November is a month many of us see as an opportunity to reflect and to give thanks. Thanksgiving Day in particular has become a time to express gratitude, celebrate with foods of a fall harvest somewhat reminiscent of those at the first Thanksgiving, and to appreciate those we love. At the same time, November is also an opportunity to reflect and learn more about what this month and Native American Heritage Day in particular means to the people who were first on this land.
Many of us remember making paper Pilgrim hats and tracing our hands to make colorful turkeys to decorate the refrigerator to celebrate that first Thanksgiving, but to Native Americans ‘Thanksgiving Day’ could be synonymous with a National Day of Mourning, a day of reflecting on the theft of Native lands and of constant attempts to erase their culture. As we give thanks, we should learn about and acknowledge the massacres of Native Americans that have taken place throughout history, and recognize that the land the settlers inhabited was already inhabited. To call Nebraska ‘Home’ means recognizing and celebrating its indigenous past, present, and future.
Here are two ways you can start:
- Listen to this beautiful short recording for Native American Heritage Month celebrating the contributions, culture, and resilience of the people indigenous to this land. Created by Nebraska KZUM Community Radio and Native American programmer Lady G.
- Find the place you call ‘home’ on the Native Land map and practice introducing yourself in a way that acknowledges indigenous groups. For example ‘I am [your name], on the land of the Ponca, Pawnee, and Omaha.’