Welcome to the Pratt Institute Libraries' guide to Native American Heritage Month!
Though the descendants of Native Americans arrived in North America as many as fifteen centuries ago, the United States government did not formally recognize the accomplishments of these peoples until 1986, when President Reagan declared the first "American Indian Week" at the urging of Congress. What began as a week has since grown into a month-long celebration of Indigenous cultures and a recognition of the profound contributions made by Indigenous peoples to the United States.
This guide was created to highlight library (e)books, films, and virtual exhibits centering Native Americans and Indigenous populations around the world. We hope it helps you dive deep into the rich histories and traditions of Indigenous peoples, and helps you better understand the current opportunities and challenges facing these groups today.
Following decades of pressure from Indigenous leaders and the more recent #HonorNativeLand movement, non-native people are beginning to understand the importance of acknowledging the many Indigenous nations, territories, and communities on which European immigrants settled and on which Americans live today. Did you know, for instance, that what we call "Brooklyn" is known to original inhabitants as "Lenapehoking," or "The Land of the Lenape?" "Canarsee," a tribe of the Lenape with deep roots in this area, is probably a more familiar name to most. As part of this growing movement for land acknowledgement, a few Indigenous-led organizations have developed interactive maps and tools to identify the tribal territories, languages, and treaties on which we live today. We encourage you to use these tools to learn more about North America's original inhabitants, and to honor the many Indigenous communities still living on this land.
Check out the short video below for an overview of the #HonorNativeLand movement and an explanation of why land acknowledgement remains so crucial.