Why Is Native American History Month in November?

Native American History Month is celebrated every November in the United States. This month-long observance is dedicated to recognizing and honoring the contributions, achievements, and struggles of Native Americans throughout history.

The question that comes to mind is why was November chosen as the month to celebrate Native American History? The answer lies in the significance of this particular month for Native American communities.

The History behind Native American History Month

The idea of celebrating Native American History Month dates back to the early 20th century. In 1915, Red Fox James, a Blackfeet Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval from 24 state governments to have a day honoring Indigenous peoples. However, his efforts were largely unrecognized.

It wasn’t until 1986 that President Ronald Reagan declared November as National American Indian Heritage Month. The designation was signed into law after Congress passed Public Law 99-471, which authorized and requested President Reagan to proclaim the week beginning on November 23, 1986 as “American Indian Week.”

Later in 1990, President George H.W. Bush expanded it into a full month of recognition.

The Significance of November

November holds significant meaning for many Native American communities because it marks the time when traditional harvests were completed. It’s also a time when people come together to give thanks for their blessings and celebrate their culture through songs, dances, and ceremonies.

For many tribes across North America, November is associated with the corn harvest. Corn has been a staple crop for many Indigenous communities for centuries and plays a vital role in their culture and traditions. The harvest season was an occasion for celebration and gratitude towards Mother Earth for providing sustenance throughout the year.

Celebrating Native American History Month

Native American History Month provides an opportunity for people across the country to learn about Indigenous cultures, histories, and traditions. It’s a time to recognize the contributions of Native Americans to the country’s culture, economy, and society.

During this month, many events are organized across the United States to celebrate and honor Native American heritage. These events include powwows, cultural exhibitions, art shows, film screenings, and lectures that showcase the rich diversity of Indigenous cultures.


In conclusion, Native American History Month was designated in November because of its significance to many Indigenous communities. It’s a time when people come together to celebrate their culture, traditions, and contributions to society. By recognizing and honoring Native American heritage, we can build bridges of understanding and respect that can help promote healing and unity in our nation.