Native American Heritage Recognition

Heritage Month often overlooked, many ways to appreciate, show support

Ahan Devgun, Staff Writer

Now that November is coming to a close and the red and orange leaves are falling off the trees, it’s important to remember that November is Native American Heritage Month. According to the National Congress of American Indians, Native American Heritage is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures of Native Americans, educate the general public about tribes, and to raise awareness about the challenges Native people have faced. One way to celebrate Native American Heritage Month is to support Native American businesses. Some amazing businesses in the Twin Cities area include Birchbark Books, which is a small and intimate bookstore, and is walking distance from Blake and perfect to take a look at after having some ice cream from Sebastian Joe’s, or in the car, crank on the radio and turn to 90.3 and 106.7 FM to listen to First Person Radio, a native nonprofit that has music, news, and more! 

One can raise awareness for Native American issues by reading articles about issues they face and getting conversation started about them. One issue is the massive amount of missing and murdered indigenous women in our country. At this point many people, whether through Instagram or other social media, have heard about this crisis. The MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women) Movement is an organization working to advocate for the end of harm against them. According to a study made in 2016 by the National Institute of Justice, 1.5 million Native American and Alaska Native women have experienced violence against them in their lifetime, which is 84.3% of Native American women. In this group, 55.5% of them suffered from physical violence and 56.1% have suffered from at the hand of a partner. It’s very understandable to feel swamped by these large numbers, but here are some things that the Blake Community can do to combat the problem. Here are some actions, that can be done to fight abuse against Native Americans: 

  1. Blake could include information geared towards heightening awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women. They can do this by incorporating curriculum involving modern issues faced by Indigenous peoples in their general curriculum, or by potentially donating money to awareness campaigns. 
  2. Students can raise awareness for the need for more Indigenous-based domestic violence shelters that provide support to victims, and support the ones that exist by donating to them. One indigenous-based domestic violence shelter is the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, where one google search can take you to a link to donate there.