November is Native American Heritage Month
Next week marks the beginning of American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, a time to reflect upon and celebrate the many cultures of the original inhabitants of this land. Too often, the stories of Indigenous people are told incorrectly and incompletely, if at all. Intentionally harmful policies and practices have historically targeted Indigenous groups as a monolithic other, or refused to acknowledge Indigenous communities that have survived violent dispossessions, mistreatment, and discrimination. Our history creates significant barriers for Indigenous kids and families which make it harder for them to thrive in accessing high quality health care, family economic prosperity, well-resourced educational settings, and many other essential resources.
This month in KidsFlash, we will be providing you with stories, resources, and ways to educate yourself on the many challenges Indigenous people continue to face as a result of longstanding discriminatory policies and practices. We recognize that the resources we provide throughout this month will not fully encapsulate any singular Indigenous experience, nor fully cover any of the hundreds of diverse Indigenous cultures that continue to make this land more vibrant. In addition to engaging with our resources, we encourage you to reflect on the land that you call home and learn specifically about those groups which long preceded you there. What Native land do you live on?
Below, you will find a number of events, resources, and organizations with which to engage throughout the month ahead:
- Volunteer for or donate to Indigenous organizations in your local community. In Denver, look to organizations like the Denver Indian Family Resource Center (DIFRC) and Spirit of the Sun.
- The DIFRC has worked for more than twenty years to provide programs and services to American Indian/Alaska Native families in Denver, and does essential work to respond to the overrepresentation of AI/AN families in the child welfare system.
- Spirit of the Sun has spent the last decade partnering with Indigenous communities in urban areas and on reservations to boost the resilience, wellness, and cultural revitalization of Indigenous people, especially youth and young adults.
- Take a look at one of Colorín Colorado’s American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage booklists. These booklists written by and about Indigenous people and groups feature a wide range of genres, time periods, and perspectives. Find the elementary school book list for your children or students here, and find the adult booklist here.
- Take a trip to the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose to explore the Ute history of adaptation and resilience.
- View a variety of free K-12 education videos to learn more about Indigenous communities and Colorado land history.