Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague has proclaimed the month of November as National Native American Heritage Month in Iowa City.
Congress authorized the month in 1986, and President Reagan signed its first commemorative proclamation, which reads in part, “many of the foods we eat and the medicines and remedies we use were introduced by Indians and more than one highway follows an Indian trail. Indians make contributions in every area of endeavor and American life, and our literature and all our arts draw upon Indian themes and wisdom. Countless American Indians have served in our Armed Forces and have fought valiantly for our country.” The Library of Congress notes that this month “celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of the peoples who were the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of the United States.”
In 2019, Joy Harjo became the nation’s first Native American Poet Laureate. She is a member of the Muskogee Creek Nation and calls poetry “soul talk.” Why not start your November reading with Ms. Harjo’s writing? She is the author of nine books, including An American Sunrise, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, and In Mad Love and War. Ms. Harjo has also written a memoir, Crazy Brave, a children’s book, The Good Luck Cat, and a young adult book, For a Girl Becoming.
Older teens and adults will find many resources on these lists from the Open Education Database and Buzzfeed News. Young children will enjoy books from these lists from Colours of Us and the First Nations Development Institute. Another favorite is Traci McClellan-Sorrell, a Cherokee author who both celebrates her heritage and educates others through beautifully-written and -illustrated titles. Her latest book traces the career of Mary Golda Ross, the first known Native-American female aerospace engineer, who was a founding member of Lockheed’s “Skunkworks.” It is available here.
The proclamation was submitted by the City's Human Rights Commission and was accepted by Commissioner Jason Glass.