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Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month 1024 683 LA County Library

Native American Heritage Month


National Native American Heritage Month celebrates the culture, contributions and heritage of Native Americans. For many years, Native Americans and others proposed that a special day be set aside to honor Native Americans. The efforts to establish a day of recognition has resulted in a month being designated for the purpose. Since 1976, the President of the United States and Congressional resolutions have proclaimed a day, week or month of recognition.

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Virtual Programming


Music of the Gabrielenos
Tuesday, November 2, 6:30 pm on Webex
Join us to celebrate Native American Heritage Month with an interactive and informative display and demonstration of Gabrieleno music with Gabrieleno Tongva musician Lazaro Arvizu, Jr. Participants will have the chance to decorate a clapper-stick and learn to play rhythms with this instrument. Limited supplies available. Call or visit the American Indian Resource Center to reserve a kit. For adults. Register here.


Smarty Pants Storytime: Native American Heritage Month
Friday, November 5, 11 am on Webex
Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with books, songs, rhymes, and movement while learning school readiness skills and having fun. For kids ages 2 – 5 with their parent or caregiver. Register here.


Easy Native Plants for Urban Spaces
Tuesday, November 9, 6 pm on Webex
Learn to grow California Native plants! Kat High, of Hupa descent, will share her culture’s and other California Natives’ uses of plants. Theodore Payne Foundation’s Seed Program Manager, Genevieve Arnold, will provide planting and plant care information. Participants will receive seeds and supplies to start their own gardens at home. Program will be live-streamed and will not be recorded. Call or visit the American Indian Resource Center for supplies or more information. For adults. Register here.


People Facing the Sun: The History of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians 
View now on YouTube
Learn about the first peoples of Northern Los Angeles County, including their language, culture, history, and more from Tribal President Rudy Ortega Jr. For adults.


Interview with Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission Executive Director Alexandra Valdes
View now on YouTube
Executive Director Alexandra Valdes will give insight on her path to leadership and the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission’s current initiatives, available resources, and ways LANAIC supports our vibrant Native Community. For adults.

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Native American Heritage Month Book Talks

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we’re sharing weekly Book Talks in November, featuring items in our American Indian Resource Center collection.

Week 4: tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine
Recommended for adults.
Download Reader’s Guide
Request the book
Plains Cree chef Shane Chartrand shares his personal journey in making Indigenous foods with European and Asian cooking techniques.

tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine book cover
Week 3: Living Nations, Living Words
Recommended for adults.
Download Reader’s Guide
Request the book
The 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, who is also the first Native American Poet Laureate, gathered 47 contemporary Native Nations poets to share their work based on the theme of place and displacement with four touchpoints in mind: visibility, persistence, resistance, and acknowledgement. This signature project is both a book of poetry and an online interactive collection filled with various art media formats.
Living Nations, Living Words book cover
Week 2: Healer of the Water Monster
Recommended for ages 8 – 12.
Download Reader’s Guide
Request the book
Nathan goes to visit his grandma on the Navajo reservation during the summer and ends up discovering Holy Beings from the Navajo Creation Story are real. And even more shocking is that he must help both is veteran uncle while trying to figure out how to save a Water Monster. Does Nathan have what it takes to save the day?.
Healer of the Water Monster book cover

Week 1: News from Native California
Recommended for adults.
Download Reader’s Guide
A magazine that brings Native perspectives to the forefront and shares upcoming events, tribal rights, environmental issues, arts, languages, histories, social justice movements, and stories of California’s diverse Natives peoples. The American Indian Resource Center has the full run from 1987 to the current issue. To check out the magazine, call or visit the American Indian Resource Center.

News from Native California magazine cover summer 2021
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American Indian Resource Center

The American Indian Resource Center (AIRC) at Huntington Park Library was established in 1979 to address informational needs of American Indians in Los Angeles County and to make information about them available to the larger community. Help us transcribe letters from our collection that were recently digitized.

Native American Heritage Month Virtual Film Festival

Check out these 2020 videos featuring films about Native Americans from Kanopy. You can access the films with your LA County Library card number and PIN. Be sure to also check out the Viewer’s Guide for discussion questions and additional resources.

Week 1: Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World (NR)
Recommended for ages 13 and up.
Watch here
Download Viewer’s Guide

This revelatory documentary brings to light the profound and overlooked influence of Indigenous people on popular music in North America. Focusing on music icons like Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Taboo (The Black Eyed Peas), Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Jesse Ed Davis, Robbie Robertson, and Randy Castillo, RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World shows how these pioneering Native American musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives.

Week 2: Mankiller: Activist. Feminist. Cherokee Chief (NR)
Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Watch here
Download Viewer’s Guide

This documentary follows Wilma Mankiller from childhood to becoming the first female Cherokee Chief, and to how she became a world-renowned icon who fought for her people.

Week 3: How People Got Fire (NR)
Recommended for a general audience.
Watch here
Download Viewer’s Guide

A short, animated film about Tish, a young girl who loves to draw and listen to Grandma Kay’s stories. You’ll soon find out from Grandma Kay how fire was obtained.

Week 4: Barking Water (NR)
Recommended for an adult audience.
Watch here
Download Viewer’s Guide

Terminally ill Frankie convinces his ex-lover Irene to take him on a road trip to visit his estranged daughter. Will the older couple resolve their past differences and make it on time to see Frankie’s family?

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Additional Information

Native American Heritage Month
Native American Heritage Month – Library of Congress website includes the history of the establishment of Native American Heritage Month.
Census Facts, Native American Heritage Month 2021
National Museum of the American Indian – Part of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) cares for one the world’s largest collection of Native artifacts. NMAI operates 3 facilities and a large outreach department that includes websites, traveling exhibitions, and community programs.

Local Resources
Short Overview of California Indian History – Written by Professor Edward D. Castillo, Cahuilla-Luiseno, for the California Native American Heritage Commission.
Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission – The mission of Los Angeles City/County Native American Commission (NAIC) is two fold: 1. increase the acquisition and local application of federal funds and 2. represent the special interests and concerns of Native Americans in the Los Angeles City and County. Visitors to the NAIC website can connect to local tribal governments, regional Native American organizations, and various federal and state departments.
UCLA Mapping Indigenous LA

Other Resources
Conversations: Land Acknowledgements
Indigenous Digital Archive’s Treaties Explorer
Native Knowledge 360° – For teachers and students, Native Knowledge 360° incorporate Native perspectives on Native American history and cultures.