Sep. 27, 2013 (the fourth Friday in Sep.) is set aside as Native American Day, a designated time to honor and celebrate Native Americans, the first Americans living in the nation. Native American tribes have spread their influence across North America, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to the vast expanse of Northern Canada. Native American Day recognizes the rich cultural heritage, history and notable contributions of Native Americans.
American Indian College Fund offers the following suggestions for celebrating Native American Day:
Read a book about Native American history:
This site recommends 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann, a book that looks at science, history, and archaeology to provide a balanced, more accurate view of America and its indigenous populations prior to European settlement.
Attend a lacrosse game at a local high school or college:
According to American Indian College Fund,
“Lacrosse was one of many varieties of indigenous stick ball games being played by American Indians at the time of European contact. Lacrosse may have developed as early as the 12th century in the Americas, and played a significant role in tribal community and spiritual life. Originally these games, many of which lasted for days and included as many as 100 people rotating to play on each team, were said to have been played to give thanks to the Creator.”
Watch a film about or starring Native Americans:
One such film is Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007), a chronicle of how Native Americans were displaced as the U.S. expanded west, based on the book by Dee Brown.
In addition, Timothy Sexton, writer for Yahoo Voices, discusses “Movies Appropriate for Watching on Native American Day on the Fourth Friday in September.” The recommended films include “Smoke Signals,” “Little Big Man” and “Real Injuns.”
Replace beef with buffalo in your recipes
Americanfood.about.com provides recipes that substitute buffalo for beef, along with a host of other Native American recipes.
With a little ingenuity the 4th Friday in Sep. can be transformed into a memorable occasion that recognizes the contributions of America’s first citizens.
Click here to view a related article on Native American Heritage Month and to view a slide show of seven Native American tribes.
The video from the Ohio Historical Society highlights events to celebrate Native American Day across the state and provides opportunities to learn about the history of Ohio's native peoples.