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Social Justice Team: Native American Heritage Day email

Native American Heritage day email sent 11/28/18

Dear Campus Library Colleagues,

The Social Justice Team created this email to share information about Native American Heritage Day, which happened this year on Friday, November 23. Please continue reading for information, resources, and ways to contribute/make a difference.

  • What is Native American Heritage Day?

As established by the “Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009,” Native American Heritage Day recognizes achievements and contributions of Native Americans to the United States.” It is held annually on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The month of November serves as Native American Heritage Month.

Additionally, some Native Americans, especially those in New England, recognize a National Day of Mourning on the fourth Thursday in November in protest of the genocide and suffering associated with the history and narratives of Thanksgiving.

A related, but different, holiday is Indigenous People’s Day in October.

  • How is it celebrated? Should it be celebrated?

Both Native American Heritage Day and Month offer opportunities to learn about the contributions of Native American people to the United States and also the ways they have been erased from United States history (textbooks, legislation, etc.).

While recognition is important, some Native people believe that this day’s overlap with “Black Friday,” a day defined by consumerism, is in poor taste. Read more about this here: Native American Heritage Day Falling On Black Friday Is 'Poor Taste,' Activist Says. Some have called for the date to be changed: Time to pick new Native American Heritage Day.


The Thanksgiving Tale We Tell Is a Harmful Lie. As a Native American, I’ve Found a Better Way to Celebrate the Holiday

National Day of Mourning

Decolonizing Thanksgiving: A Toolkit for Combatting Racism in Schools

University of Washington Intellectual House - This space “provides a multi-service learning and gathering space for American Indian and Alaska Native students, faculty and staff, as well as others from various cultures and communities to come together in a welcoming environment to share knowledge.”

How can I contribute/make a difference?

Take time to learn the indigenous history of where you live, its peoples and treaties. One resource for identifying native lands is the Native Land App. Then, post a sign to share and acknowledge which land you are occupying.

Support organizations advocating for Native American communities: Native American Rights Fund, National Congress on American Indians

Be an advocate and contact your Congressional Representative or Senator to support Indian Country on key legislation.

Learn about and support your local Native American communities: Samish Indian Nation, Duwamish Tribe, Tulalip Tribes. A list of some, but not all, tribes and nations of the Coast Salish can be found here.

Consider donating to Real Rent Duwamish, an organization that allows you to “pay rent” to the Duwamish people, who still do not have federal recognition as a tribe.


The Social Justice Team welcomes feedback and ideas from Campus Library staff with our feedback form that can be filled out anonymously.

Thank you,

The Social Justice Team