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National Native American Heritage Month

In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial commemoration, S.J. Res. 209 authorized President Gerald Ford to proclaim October 10-16, 1976, as “Native American Awareness Week.” In 1986 Congress passed S.J. Res. 390, requesting that the president designate November 23–30, 1986, as “American Indian Week.” Congress continued this practice in subsequent years, declaring one week during the autumn months as “Native American Indian Heritage Week.”

In 1990 Congress passed and President George H. W. Bush signed into law a joint resolution designating the month of November as the first National American Indian Heritage Month (also known as Native American Indian Month). “American Indians were the original inhabitants of the lands that now constitute the United States of America,” noted H.J. Res. 577. “Native American Indians have made an essential and unique contribution to our Nation” and “to the world.” Introduced by Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye and congressional delegate Eni Faloemavaega of American Samoa, the joint resolution stated that “the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon Federal, State, and local governments, interested groups and organizations, and the people of the United States to observe the month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.” In 2008 the commemorative language was amended to also include the contributions of Alaskan Natives. Every year, by statute and/or presidential proclamation, the month of November is recognized as National Native American Heritage Month.

Download a pdf of this information: National Native American Heritage Month events 2023

How can you celebrate?


Learn more about our local Nations!


American Indian vs. Native American
American Indian, Indian, Native American, or Native are acceptable and often used interchangeably in the United States; however, Native Peoples often have individual preferences on how they would like to be addressed. To find out which term is best, ask the person or group which term they prefer.

Kaw Nation
Formerly known as the Kanza (or Kansa) people, the Kaws are a federally recognized Indian tribe officially known as the Kaw Nation. The Kaw Nation derived its name from the Siouan aca, “south wind,” a reference to the tribe’s role in war ceremonials, using the power of the wind when recognizing warriors. By the mid-18th century, the “Wind People” were the predominant tribe in what became the state to which they gave their name (Kansas). Their territory extended over most of present-day northern and eastern Kansas, with hunting grounds extending far to the west.

Osage Nation
The Osage are identified as a Dhegiha Siouan language speaking tribe along with the Omaha, Ponca, Kaw, and Quapaw. The origin of the Dhegiha Siouan tribes is in the Ohio River valley. During the Middle Woodland period, A.D. 200 to A.D. 400, the Dhegiha as a group, started migrating down the Ohio River valley to the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers as traveling outward from the valley following the various river drainages into the interior of what are now Missouri and Illinois.

Otoe-Missouria Tribe
At one time the Otoes and Missourias, along with the Winnebago and Iowa Tribes, were once part of a single tribe that lived in the Great Lakes Region of the United States. In the 16th century the tribes separated from each other and migrated west and south although they still lived near each other in the lower Missouri River Valley. The Otoes also call themselves Jiwere (jee-WEH-ray) and the Missourias who call themselves Nutachi (noo-TAH-chi) were related to each other in language and customs, but they were still two distinct people. The state of Missouri and the Missouri River are both named after the Missouria Tribe, which once lived in the region and controlled traffic and trade along the Missouri River and its tributaries.

Shawnee Tribe
Shawnee Indians were moved to present-day Kansas in the 1820s and 1830s. Upon relinquishing their lands in the East, Shawnees received a large tract of land west of Missouri in an area sometimes called the Great American Desert. The Shawnee prospered in Kansas because they were skilled cultivators. During the Civil War some Kansas Shawnee served in the Union army, earning the tribe’s “Loyal” designation. Expecting compensation for their wartime service, they returned to destroyed homesteads. White settlers, hungry for land, had acquired 130,000 acres of the land granted to the Shawnee in 1854. Of the tribe’s remaining seventy thousand acres, twenty thousand had been reserved for the Absentee Shawnee.

Wyandot Nation
In 1843, the Wyandots were forced to leave Ohio. Prior to moving to Kansas, the Wyandots sent out three scouting parties to appraise land in the Kansas-Missouri area. It was decided that the tribe would purchase land from the Shawnee. That land is today Westport and the Country Club Plaza. The Wyandots traveled to the Kansas City area from Cincinnati Ohio . When they arrived in Kansas City, the sale of the land was held up by the Indian agent in the area. With no land on which to settle, the Wyandots were placed on government land which is today the old stockyards. The town of Wyandott was established on what is today downtown Kansas City, Kansas. The names of prominent Wyandots still mark the streets: Armstrong, Tauromee, Splitlog, Clark.

Art, Performance & Cinema

Spencer’s Museum of Art
“The Spencer’s extensive collection of Native American and First Nations art encompasses centuries of indigenous heritage, culture, and creative vision in a variety of media, including textiles, ceramics, basketry, beadwork, painting, and silverwork. Beginning with Greenlandic Inuit materials assembled by KU naturalist Lewis Lindsay Dyche in 1895, the collection has grown to include more than 3,000 objects that embody the rich cultural traditions of more than 160 distinct Native communities and artists from Canada and the United States. “

The following museums have permanent displays of a variety of Indigenous artifacts, exhibits and more.

Oyate                          Free                    Nov 19
“This documentary follows the true stories two Lakota activists in the wake of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and how our nation’s ecological past and future are indelibly intertwined. Upon release in 2022, Oyate received multiple accolades including the audience choice award at the North Dakota Environmental Rights Film Festival.”

Powwow Highway                  Free                    Nov 26
“On a quest to free his sister from being falsely imprisoned in New Mexico, hot-headed activist Buddy (A Martinez) and his childhood friend Philbert (Gary Farmer), two Northern Cheyenne brothers from Montana, set off down the backroads of America in a 1964 Buick Wildcat. Their journey is a combination of light-hearted buddy comedy, de-tangling the history of their estranged friendship, and exploring the future of Native American spirituality as it is consumed and influenced by white American’s politics and culture. Release in 1989, Powwow Highway won Best Picture at the Native American Film Festival, the Filmmaker’s Trophy at Sundance, and has since become a cult classic road movie in the way of films like Easy Rider. “

Native American Culture Performance                              Free                    March 3, 2024
“Celebrate and honor the art, dance, and music of Native Americans from across the country. Experience a variety of longstanding traditions revealed in today’s artistic expressions.”


  • Kiara Rainn @_warrior_rainn
  • Opapamohtew @Incorruptiblenehiyaw
  • Johnnie Jae @JohnnieJae (Choctaw/Otoe-Missouria)
  • Alaqua Cox @AlaquaCox (Menominee & Mohican Nation)


  • Eagle Blackbird @itzeaglee
  • Che Jim (Diné-Anishinaabe) @che.jim
  • Chante @LakotaLightning
  • James Jones @notoriouscree
  • Tia Wood @tiamiscihk
  • Shina Nova @shinanova (Inuuvunga)


  • Kairyn Potts @ohkairyn (Nakota Sioux)
  • Geronimo Louis @jeronimo.warrior
  • Chelazon Leroux @Shuga Cain @missshugacain


  • Braden @kadlun
  • Nathalie Wajashk @natrestoule
  • Kendra Jessie Rosychuk @kendrajessie

Art and Fun

  • Tawny Cale @sisterbeads4 (Lakota-Dakota-Anishinaabe)
  • Jayroy Makokis @jayroymakokis
  • The Land @the_landk (Cree-Potawatomi)
  • Brett Mooswa @brettstoise


  • Sean Sherman @siouxchef (Oglala Lakota Sioux)
  • Neftali Duran (Oaxaqueño)
  • Cezin Nottaway @cexinnottaway (Anishinabe)
  • Quentin Glabus @Chefquentinglabus (Frog Lake Cree First Nation)
Play the Native Way         Free        Various Dates
“In a time before computers and cell phones, Native Americans played games that were exciting and taught life skills essential to their surroundings and culture. During this very participatory, fun-filled program, award-winning storyteller Jim “Two Crows” Wallen, will intersperse stories and games that the children played in 17th and 18th century North America. “

History of American Boarding Schools     Zoom         Free        Nov 15
“Renewed calls for investigations into the abuses to American Indian children have brought new scrutiny to the boarding school system. This talk will examine the thinking behind the creation of federal schools for youth, and how this system affected Native communities in the short and long term. The American Indian story is one of cultural survival, but what are the next steps for reckoning with this difficult and painful part of our national history? ”

Beyond Killers of the Flower Moon: An Osage’s Perspective        $10        Nov 18
“There has been a lot of buzz surrounding Martin Scorsese’s most recent film Killers of the Flower Moon. The film, set in the 1920’s, recounts the murder of members of the Osage tribe of Osage County, Oklahoma after oil is found on their land, and the FBI decides to investigate. Explore historical and current Osage issues that go beyond the film with a presentation by Professor Jimmy Lee Beason II.”

Water: Life Force of the Osage       Zoom         Free        Nov 28
“The Osage were first known as the “Children of the Middle Waters.” They have always had a strong connection with water that remains to this day. In this presentation, Dr. Andrea Hunter will explain the influence that water plays in the history and culture of the Osage people.”


Native American Identity Past & Present Book Discussion                 Free        Nov 9
“ The books in this series present Native American identity through the lens of Native writers and Native experiences. These writers speak to the diversity and complexity of Native identity. This discussion will be led by Gene T. Chavez. Books will be available on a first come, first serve basis through registration but you can also attend by accessing this book through our e-content!

A Conversation with Jimmy Lee Beason II             Free        Nov 16
“Jimmy Lee Beason II, author and professor at Haskell Indian Nations University, discusses his children’s book, Native Americans in History: A History Book for Kids, and shares his insights on the importance of Native visibility, education, and his writing perspective as an Osage Nation citizen.”

Toasted Sister Podcast
“Hosted by Andi Murphy, a Navajo journalist, “Toasted Sister” takes us along on Murphy’s journey to discover her culinary roots. This award-winning podcast documents the Native American Food Movement. “

Red Man Laughing
“The Red Man Laughing podcast features Anishinaabe comedian/writer sitting down with some of the world’s leading Indigenous artists, thinkers, do-ers, cultural leaders & ass-kickers in forward-looking conversations about the collision between Indian Country & the mainstream. “

Metis in Space
Hilariously deconstructs the science fiction genre from a decolonial lens. Hosts Molly Swain and & Chelsea Vowel review sci fi movies and television series featuring indigenous people tropes and themes.”

Indian & Cowboy features a roster of 12 podcasts, Each podcast is its own distinct show that consists of Indigenous media makers, artists, storytellers, musicians & producers – the network is rooted firmly at the intersection between digital media art, podcasting & Indigenous Storytelling.

Breakdances with Wolves
“Breakdances With Wolves is Gyasi Ross, Wesley (“Snipes Type”) Roach and Minty LongEarth, a few Natives with opinions and a platform.”


All my Relations
“All My Relations is a podcast hosted by Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation) to explore our relationships— relationships to land, to our creatural relatives, and to one another. “

The Red Nation
“This podcast, hosted by Nick Estes and Jen Marley, features discussions on indigenous history, politics, and culture from a left-leaning perspective. “Red Nation” as a whole is dedicated to advocacy, education, and bringing indigenous issues to the forefront of politics to hopefully create action. “

Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo
“Connie Walker, an award-winning CBC News investigative reporter, hosts two seasons of the “Missing & Murdered” podcast. “

Media Indigena
“Media Indigena provides a rarely-heard set of perspectives from American Indian communities on everything from sexuality and marriage to natural disasters to education. It never fails to broaden my way of thinking about an issue. “

Native American Calling
“Native America Calling is a live call-in program linking public radio stations, the Internet and listeners together in a thought-provoking national conversation about issues specific to Native communities. Each program engages noted guests and experts with callers throughout the United States and is designed to improve the quality of life for Native Americans. Native American Calling is heard on nearly 70 public, community and tribal radio stations in the United States and in Canada. Our program is a production of Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, a Native-operated media center in Anchorage, Alaska. “

A Smudge for your Thoughts
“Boozhoo/Tahnsi-Kiyahw (Hello, how are you)? Our podcast’s mission is to promote respect and understanding of Indigenous cultures, by spotlighting perspectives of contemporary Indigenous people. On our podcast we have a sit down discussion with indigenous people, on topics that center around how we navigate this contemporary world while maintaining our cultural connections. Our conversations range from 30min. – 1 hour+. We hope you learn something and have fun along the way! Migwech/Hiy-Hiy (Thank You) “

JCCC Events

Andrew Mcilvaine: Resilience Story           Free        until Nov 5
“In his first institutional solo exhibition, Andrew Mcilvaine highlights the power of art to transcend systemic inequities. Resilience Story prominently features Mcilvaine’s relationship with his father, who was incarcerated for most of the artist’s life. Unable to connect in person, their bond was communicated through the art they exchanged. Resilience Story is a continuation of this formative artistic experience. In Mcilvaine’s work, artmaking becomes a ritual for recovering the truth of his past and repairing generational traumas to transform his future. “

These Colors will not run          Free        Until Dec 1
“The exhibition title, derived from text seen in My Country Tis of Thee by Tom Jones, references patriotism and endurance. Jones’s work presents historical images from popular culture through an Indigenous artistic lens, highlighting Native peoples’ involvement in the U.S. military. In the spirit of Jones’s work, this exhibition explores the representational power of color. Featured in the gallery is a wide spectrum, from the bright rainbow hues of a crayon box to the sepia tones of photographs and neutral tones of natural materials such as hide and wood. These works exemplify the richness and beauty of diversity and our shared history. “