Honoring National Native American Heritage Month

Nov 2, 2023

President Joe Biden signed a proclamation on Tuesday designating November as National Native American Heritage Month. The proclamation recognizes “the invaluable contributions of Native peoples that have shaped our country,” while also acknowledging that “Native peoples’ cultures, identities, and governments were not always seen as a part of this Nation but as a threat to it,” and that “Native people were pressured to assimilate, banned from practicing their traditions and sacred ceremonies, and forced from their homes and ancestral homelands.”

The proclamation also notes the historic investments made in Indian Country by the Biden administration, as well as the appointment of Native Americans to high-level positions in the federal government, including Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. In addition, the proclamation states, “We are also committed to partnering with Tribal Nations to protect and steward their sacred and ancestral lands and waters,” and notes the establishment of Avi Kwa Ame and Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni national monuments, and the restoration of Bears Ears National Monument.

Arguably, every month could be Native American Heritage Month, especially considering that all public lands exist on land that was historically occupied by Native Americans and taken by force by the U.S. government. To honor the start of Native American Heritage Month and to acknowledge the ongoing contributions of Indigenous people in America, today’s Look West features news stories and images centered on the Native American experience.

New blog! Geothermal is heating up the West

Interest in geothermal energy development has been increasing in recent years, especially in Western states where the majority of the nation’s geothermal resources are found. In a new blog post, Center for Western Priorities Policy Director Rachael Hamby lays out what you need to know as geothermal heats up in the West.

Quick hits

Tribal co-management of public lands leads to new protections

Navajo-Hopi Observer

Maria Tallchief, America’s first prima ballerina, added to U.S. quarters this week

Colorado Public Radio

Navajo look to save shepherding traditions from climate threats

Associated Press

$235 million from Tribal water settlements going to New Mexico projects

Source NM

Utah appeals court decision to toss lawsuit over Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments

KSL | St. George Spectrum & Daily News

Opinion: In Maine, a return of Tribal land shows how conservation can succeed

Washington Post

New film, “Tatanka” and the many narratives of the buffalo

High Country News

Editorial: Deb Haaland’s “Road to Healing” tour offers a better future

Santa Fe New Mexican

Quote of the day

Conservation has always been about people, even when the people were not visible. Environmental movements might have better protected nature if they had long sought to conserve cultures and communities along with land. Earning the trust now of people who have inherited wisdom for living in balance with nature will give conservation a fighting chance on a warming planet. It might also offer a reprieve from focusing on the dire future to reach for solutions that lie deep in the past.”

—Bina Venkataraman, Washington Post columnist

Picture This

Two young Indigenous women hold a framed photo of their ancestor.


Happy Native American Heritage Month! Interior is proud to celebrate the traditions, languages and stories of Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Island communities and ensure their rich histories and contributions continue to thrive with each passing generation.

Featured image: Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and National Park Service Director Chuck Sams visit the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic site in Colorado. Source: DOI Flickr