City Cast editor Natalia Aldana wrote this article, which was originally published in Hey DC, and was adapted by Terina Ria.
November was officially designated as a heritage month to recognize America’s original inhabitants and celebrate their rich culture and contributions in 1990, then referred to as National American Indian Heritage Month. But efforts to pay tribute to Indigenous people started long before.
Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, rode horseback across the U.S. seeking approval for a day to honor Native Americans and presented an endorsement from 24 states to the White House in 1915. The first official American Indian Day was declared by the New York state governor in May 1916.
This year’s theme is “Celebrating Tribal Sovereignty and Identity.” There are 574 federally recognized nations, tribes, and pueblos within the U.S. comprising over 3.7 million people. Self-governance is at the heart of Native people’s ability to protect and enhance the health, safety, and welfare of their communities.
Here are Some Ways to Pay Tribute in Salt Lake
Support Local Organizations
- Restoring Ancestral Winds advocates for the safety and well-being of Indigenous communities through domestic violence education.
- Pandos advocates for environmental and Indigenous rights including murdered and missing Indigenous women and relatives. Utah ranks eighth in the country for the highest number of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls cases.
- Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake is a community resource and cultural hub for Indigenous people in Salt Lake City.
Watch Indigenous films at Salt Lake Community College’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs in Taylorsville on Monday, Nov. 20 from 2-4 p.m.
- Watch “Healing the Warrior’s Heart” on Monday, Nov. 20 at 6 p.m.
- Attend the Inter-Tribal Cultural Social on Tuesday, Nov. 21 from 4-6 p.m.
- Participate in a community service day on Wednesday, Nov. 22 from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Read Indigenous Poetry
“No Parole Today” was written by Laura Tohe, poet laureate of the Navajo Nation. The collection of prose and poetry details her experience attending a government boarding school for Indigenous children. The Navajo Nation is a sovereign nation spanning parts of New Mexico, Arizona, and southeastern Utah.