Native American Heritage Month is celebrated every November to honor the many contributions Indigenous people have made to the United States.
Across the country, there are 574 federally recognized Native American tribes, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Three federally recognized tribes live on reservations in Texas: the Alabama-Coushatta, Tigua, and Kickapoo. North Texas was the original home of many tribes, including the Caddo, Comanche, Kiowa, Tawakoni, and Wichita.
The 1841 Battle of Village Creek, on the border of present-day Fort Worth and Arlington, was one of the final acts of removal of Native Americans in North Texas. After Congress passed the Indian Relocation Act to encourage Native Americans to move into urban centers, including Dallas, in 1956, over 10,000 people from 82 tribes moved to the area. By 1983, about 20,000 Native Americans – or half of Texas’ Native American population – were living in West Oak Cliff and East Dallas. Today, Native Americans and Alaska Natives make up roughly 1% of the total U.S. population and the figure increases to 2.6% when two or more races are included. In the Dallas Region, Native Americans and Alaska Natives make up .08% of the population, and 2.3% when including two or more races.
National efforts to honor Native Americans began in 1914, when Red Fox Skiuhushu, of the Blackfeet tribe, traveled from state to state on horseback to advocate for a dedicated day of observance. He secured endorsements from 24 state governments, and New York was the first state to celebrate “American Indian Day” in May 1916, with many other states following suit.
By 1986, Congress had extended the holiday to a week. Then in 1990, President George H. W. Bush declared November to be Native American Heritage Month. The City of Dallas recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the first time in 2019.
As we progress through the month of November, the Dallas Regional Chamber is proud to celebrate the Native American community in our region. Below are more resources to learn about observing Native American Heritage Month, especially in the workplace.
Read and Watch:
- PBS | Native American Heritage Month 2022
- WhiteHouse.gov | A Proclamation on National Native American Heritage Month, 2022
- U.S. Department of Labor | Best Practices: Creating an Inclusive Workforce for Native Americans
- Department of Defense Education Activity | National Native American Heritage Month
- November 1-30 | Dallas Public Library Native American Heritage Month Programs
- November 1-30 | Red Nation International Film Festival
- November 3-30 | Dallas College November Is Native American Heritage Month
Ways to Engage:
- Visit the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture’s online exhibition.
- Acknowledge that Dallas was built on indigenous land before any cultural celebration.
- Hire more Native American talent through organizations like AISES and NativeHire.
- Uplift Native American voices in your workplace and on social media.
- Utilize the Council for Tribal Employment Rights as a resource.