Indigenous/ Native American Heritage Month 2023
November is Indigenous/Native American Heritage Month, where we pay tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans and Indigenous peoples. This is also an opportunity to bring awareness to the unique challenges Indigenous people have faced historically and in the present. It is important to recognize the lands we are on today were first inhabited by Native American tribes before being colonized by European settlers and to recognize the poor treatment of Indigenous peoples thereafter. Below are a few tools to help you engage and learn from this meaningful history and how you can be a supporter in the present.
Learning about the Indigenous people who first called Michigan home is a great place to start. Before the French and British arrived in the 1600s and 1700s, Michigan was home to several tribes. You may be familiar with the Three Fires, or the three largest tribes; Ojibwe (also called Chippewa), the Odawa (also called Ottowa), and the Potawatomi (also called the Bode’wadmi). The Michigan History Center has put together a helpful article below to help you learn more about these tribes and the others in Michigan.
Today, many ancestors of these original Indigenous peoples continue to take part in their cultural traditions. You can explore their arts, languages, and artifacts through several online educational resources. The Indigenous People of Michigan Research Guides from the University of Michigan Library has many resources for you to delve into and appreciate the Indigenous cultures and history.
If you are looking for books or media to consume we recommend Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, The Tao of Raven: An Alaska Native Memoir by Ernestine Hayes, and Reel Injun directed by Neil Diamond, Catherine Bainbridge, and Jeremiah Hayes.
An Interactive Map by Native Land
“We strive to map Indigenous lands in a way that changes, challenges, and improves the way people see history and the present day. We hope to strengthen the spiritual bonds that people have with the land, its people, and its meaning.” (Native-Land.ca) Explore the interactive map linked below to see Indigenous territories, languages, and treaties in your area.
For Healthcare Professionals
It is important in the care of your patients that you honor their cultural practices. “It can go a long way toward ensuring that patients follow the plan of care”, explains Catherine M. Mullahy, RN, BSN, CCRN, CCM. As she further explains in the following article, Whenever Possible, Combine Western and Traditional Medicine from Relias Media, it can foster communication and respect between patients and staff if they feel their beliefs are being honored. You can give this article a read below.