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November is American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

It is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse culture, traditions and histories, and to acknowledge the contributions, of Native Peoples.

The library has a display of books on the third floor. But if you can’t visit the library and want to expand your understanding of the First Peoples, there are many informative websites.

Check out a collaborative effort from the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, and the Smithsonian and others paying tribute to the rich heritage of Native Americans. You can see a selection from these institutions from the comfort of your home. The online offerings span a wide range of topics from photographs by Edward Curtis to efforts to save the Cherokee language to the music of the Omaha and a selection from the National Gallery of ArtNative Languages  has compiled information about many aspects of Native culture. There is a list of internet resources for everything from biographies to technology and crafts and histories and you can  search by name of tribe for stories and legends too.

The website of the National Congress of the American Indian  has an online guide outlining the governance of tribes in the United States, Tribal Nations and the United States . You can also search for tribes by name or by location. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (with physical locations in DC and NYC) allows you to visit its exhibitions right from your computer. Fittingly, during this month when we celebrate Veterans’ Day, the museum has an online exhibit detailing the contributions of Native Americans who have fought in every war. Take a look at the valuable contributions of the Code Talkers during World War II.

And it’s not just history. Native culture is alive and well! Take a look at the current exhibit at the Museum of the American Indian’s New York space. Titled “Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound”, it joins traditional art with current media using light, digital projection and experimental media.

-posted by Brenda, Reference Services

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National Native American Heritage Month

President Trump has issued a proclamation setting November as National Native American Heritage Month. In this he follows in the tradition begun in 1976 when Congress authorized President Ford to proclaim a week honoring Native Americans.

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The Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of the American Indian has some fascinating online exhibits.  Take a look at the exhibit on the treaties between the nations and the U.S. government. The Museum also has an online exhibit, “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces,” which spotlights Native Americans’ participation in the military from the Revolutionary War to today (when they are today serving at a higher rate in proportion to their population than any other ethnic group). Since we celebrate Veterans day as well this month, consider the World War II role of Code Talkers , those who used native languages to communicate securely during World War II. Some of the collections of the American Museum of Natural History are available online: take a look at the amazing work of the Northwest Coast Indians to see beautiful basketry, carving and textiles.

Maybe you want to plan a trip to visit these museums! Or travel to Pueblo Acoma, the oldest continuously occupied community in the United States situated atop a 367-foot bluff between Albuquerque and Gallup, New Mexico. Or check out the archaeological and architectural wonders of Chaco Canyon (founded around 850 AD) or the impressive cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde Closer to home is Fort Stanwix , which was built on traditional Oneida land.

Locally, the Garvies Point Museum in Glen Cove will be hosting a Native American Feast  on November 18-19 which will feature pottery making and dugout canoe building in addition to cooking displays and samples.

Acoma Pueblo (Bob Ayre)

The Syosset Library has many books about contemporary art (try Native American Painters of the 20th Century or North American Indian Art), philosophy (Wisdom of the Native Americans or Standing in the Light: A Lakota Way of Seeing), history (American Nations, or In the Hands of the Great Spirit). Jack Weatherford’s Indian Givers and Native Roots look at contributions to United States history and culture. There are many more books about art, culture, folklore, history as well as biographies.

-posted by Brenda, Reference Services