In 1986 Congress passed a law asking President Reagan to declare the last week in November “American Indian Week”. In 1990, they decided to honor the people and tribes who were the original inhabitants of this land by proclaiming the entire month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month. The practice has continued since then, and the designated celebration encourages all Americans to learn more about the indigenous people and culture of the United States. Here is a group of resources gathered by the ipl2 to help everyone honor the intention and find out something new or interesting about Native American literature, art, and history.
Did you ever wonder?
Q: What is the correct terminology: American Indian, Indian, Native American, or Native?
A: All of these terms are acceptable. The consensus, however, is that whenever possible, Native people prefer to be called by their specific tribal name. In the United States, Native American has been widely used but is falling out of favor with some groups, and the terms American Indian or indigenous American are preferred by many Native people. (Answer from the National Museum of the American Indian)
New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources can already be found in the ipl2 collection.
Find a Great Book
Fiction or non-fiction, adult or youth, classic or contemporary—there is a great book out there to meet anyone’s criteria. Browse through a number of sites dedicated to Native American literature and writings of all forms and formats.
Special Collection: Native American Authors (find it on the ipl2)
The ipl2 has a special collection entitled Native American Authors that includes alphabetical lists of authors, titles and tribes. The entries contain biographical information, bibliographies of the writers, and links to other resources including interviews, and tribal websites. Within this collection there is also a thank you page that mentions the individuals who helped put this resource together, and a list of other valuable websites that contains many books and authors. We recommend that you visit that list for more great ideas: http://ipl.org/div/natam/thanks.html .
WWW Virtual Library – American Indians – Index of Native American Book Resources on the Internet (find it on the ipl2)
This is a large index of sites about native authors, books, and publishing houses. Besides the extensive alphabetical author listing, the site contains links to book reviews, books available online, journals, libraries, and other valuable resources. The home page of this site has a broad selection of Native American information from health and education to organizations and non-profit listings.
Native Languages of the Americas: Books on American Indian History and Culture (find it on the ipl2)
This website seeks to preserve the history and survival of the hundreds of Native American languages through the connective power of the internet. The Books page has a small listing of significant books about Native Americans history and culture, plus a unique listing by tribe association.
National Education Association: Read Across America-Native American Booklist (find it on the ipl2)
Read Across America is an annual event sponsored by the NEA to motivate children to read. This list was created as a resource to support parents and teachers looking to participate in the program. Although it is primarily a children’s list, many of the books on the Grade 9+ section would certainly be enjoyable for any adult.
Discover the Beauty
Thousands of years of Native art work—from petroglyphs to contemporary pieces—can be discovered and enjoyed by exploring the following websites.
NEW! Native Art Network
The Native Art Network is a privately-owned “for profit” company started by two Native Americans to showcase Native American art. This website has a directory to Native American artists who have registered with their site, and each artist’s page contains pictures of their work (as the artists provide pictures) and information about the artist.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts: Art of the Native Americans (find it on the ipl2)
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts housed The Thaw Collection of American Indian Art from October 2010 through January 2011. Though the collection is no longer physically housed at the MIA, information about and pictures of the collection are still available at this site.
Native People Magazine (find it on the ipl2)
Native Peoples Magazine is a quarterly journal that features articles about the arts and cultures of Native Americans. They seek to respect and examine Native art’s past, but also explore the exciting world of modern Native works. This site is also a valuable source of events and other information.
Learn some History
There are many ways to learn the history of a people and their culture—through their art and objects, exploring their environment, reading a book, or exploring a site full of interesting facts. The following resources represent some fascinating and in-depth looks at Native American history and civilization.
National Museum of the American Indian (find it on the ipl2)
This museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution and cares for one of the most expansive collections of Native American objects, photographs and media that cover the entire North American and South American continents. Interested in the prehistory of the Western Hemisphere and its people? Want to understand the native culture when the white man arrived? The collections from this museum will help you understand this part of Native America. Good site for K-12 students.
National Park Service – History and Culture (find it on the ipl2)
Want to go somewhere and see how the ancient American Indians lived? The National Park Services is celebrating National American Indian Heritage Month with links to the Ocmulgee mounds which has been continuously inhabited for the 17,000 years. Links are available to information about other Native American places, historical sites, stories and people to help celebrate the history and heritage of the Native American peoples.
Native American Facts for Kids (find it on the ipl2)
This website is designed to provide simple online information about American Indians in an easy-to-read question and answer format. This site has Native American tribes listed in alphabetical order to link to more information about each tribe. Older students are encouraged to look through American Indian tribes to find more information about language and culture of Native American tribes.
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