November is Native American Heritage Month, also commonly referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, was conceived in 1990.
During this month we celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native people while also acknowledging their important contributions to the establishment and growth of the U.S. This month is also seen as a time to educate the public and raise awareness of Native peoples and the challenges they’ve faced throughout the years.
From honoring this month through traditional singing and dance, to educating yourself on the history of Native peoples through educational readings, here are different ways to celebrate and honor this month throughout NYC.
1. Bring your children to listen to a reading of Powwow Day at the Throg’s Neck Library
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, the NYPL is hosting a reading of Powwow Day by Traci Sorell, a Native American children’s book, at the Throgs Neck Library. Coloring pages will also be provided. The event is recommended for children ages 5-12.
Where: 3025 Cross Bronx Expressway
When: Monday, November 7, 2:30p.m. – 3:30p.m.
2. Embark on a hike to discuss Queens’ indigenous peoples and the significance of trees used in their everyday lives
The Urban Park Rangers are celebrating Native American Heritage Month with a hike to discuss local indigenous people and the significance of trees used in their everyday lives. These trees include osage orange, tulip tree, red cedar, elms, white pine, and many others. This event is free.
Where: Crocheron Park – Entrance located at 215th Place and 33rd Road
When: Saturday, November 12, 10a.m. – 11:30a.m.
3. Celebrate American Indian Culture through music and dance
Head to the Queens County Farm Museum for their Autumn Dance Celebration which showcases a variety of Native American dances performed by representatives of eight different Indian Nations. Learn about each dance’s origin and enjoy a Native American Craft & Food Market with authentic art, jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and more. The farm grounds and market admission is free, but you must purchase tickets to enter the performance area. Learn more here.
Where: Queens County Farm Museum – 73-50 Little Neck Parkway
When: Sunday; November 13, 11a.m. – 4p.m.
4. Discuss Toni Jensen’s Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land
The Muhlenberg Library is hosting an online discussion of Toni Jensen’s Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land. The book is described as a “powerful, poetic memoir about what it means to exist as an Indigenous woman in America, told in snapshots of the author’s encounters with gun violence.” The event is free but you must register here in order to receive the link to participate.
Where: Online via Google Hangouts Meet
When: Monday, November 14, 4p.m. – 5p.m.
5. Learn the the past and present experience of Native Americans in the Bronx
During Native American Heritage Month, Urban Park Rangers will guide you to explore the past and present experience of Native Americans in the Bronx, including how the Lenape used the area’s plants, wildlife, and waterways, as well as how their legacy continues to persist today in the Bronx and beyond.
Where: Van Cortlandt Nature Center in Van Cortlandt Park – Broadway and Van Cortlandt Park S.
When: Saturday, November 19, 1p.m. – 2p.m.
6. Learn how native tribes like the Lenape used certain areas of Staten Island in their everyday life
The Urban Park Rangers are hosting yet another free event for Native American Heritage Month, this time at the Conference House Park’s Great Lawn in Staten Island. This event will explain how native tribes like the Lenape used the area in their everyday life, including the ways they utilized waterways, native plants, and other wildlife to live, and how their influence lives on into modern times. This event is free.
Where: Great Lawn in Conference House Park – Pittsville St., Hylan Blvd. Richard Ave.
When: Sunday, November 20, 11a.m. – 12p.m.
7. Explore the past and present experience of Native Americans in Brooklyn
During Native American Heritage Month, explore the past and present experience of Native Americans with Urban Park Rangers who will discuss how the Lenape used the area’s plants, wildlife, and waterways, as well as how their legacy continues to persist today in Brooklyn and beyond. This event is free.
Where: Salt Marsh Nature Center in Marine Park – Avenue U and East 33rd Street
When: Saturday, November 26, 1p.m. – 2p.m.
8. Visit the National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum complex. It holds one of the world’s most expansive collections of Native artifacts, including objects, photographs, archives, and media. Throughout November they’ll be hosting several virtual and in-person events in celebration of Native American Heritage Month. Their full calendar of events can be seen here.
Where: 1 Bowling Green
9. Explore the Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection exhibition at The Met
This ongoing exhibition displays the brilliance of Native American artists from across the United States and Canada through historical and contemporary works. The work of more than fifty Indigenous groups is represented, as well as major Native American aesthetic forms: painting, drawing, sculpture, textiles, quill and bead embroidery, basketry, and ceramics.
Where: The Met Fifth Avenue – 746 South
This newly revitalized hall showcases “the creativity, scholarship, and history of the living cultures of the Pacific Northwest,” featuring brand new exhibits developed with Indigenous communities from the Pacific Northwest Coast. The Hall is divided into a series of alcoves, featuring more than 1,000 “cultural treasures,” many with a 360° display view. Learn more about the hall here.
Where: 200 Central Park Museum