When we think of November, most of us will immediately conjure up images in our minds of Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Some of us may even think “no shave” November or “grow a mo” Movember (see the display in our Colfax Branch where you can select a wide variety of newly “mustached” books and authors.) But I would guess not many people are aware that November is also celebrated as American Indian Heritage month.

How fitting we have an opportunity to celebrate our nation’s first peoples during a month that we give thanks and remember the first Thanksgiving. Given our gift of hindsight, we know that our ancestors may not have necessarily repaid that initial generosity in kind.

Just think how different the history of our country and the legacy of one of its most beloved holidays could be if the American Indians had chosen not to help their Pilgrim neighbors.

American Indian Heritage Month was instituted in November 1990 through a joint resolution approved by then president George H.W. Bush.

You may be wondering how to go about celebrating or honoring American Indian Heritage Month?

An article recently published on CNN.com suggests visiting a local reservation or museum to learn more about our local tribal communities. As Christmas and the season of giving approaches, consider shopping and supporting American Indian-owned businesses or charities. Consider reading a book about American Indian history, culture or pick up a book penned by a American Indian author.

Lucky for you, the Colfax Library makes it easy for you by housing a American Indian Heritage display in the foyer of the Library. As always, the books used in our displays can be checked out.

In perusing our selections about American Indian history, you might consider picking up a book on the Navajo Code Talkers from World War II. If fiction is more your speed, I recommend “There There” by Tommy Orange, a winner of the American Book award.

Our display also includes selections for young readers, so that no one needs to be excluded from celebrating the diversity of American Indian cultures that contribute to making America a rich tapestry of many voices and stories both yesterday and today.


Amy Ferguson is a library assistant at Whitman County Library.

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