November is the National Native American Heritage Month during which we commemorate the cultural legacy and remember the contributions of Native Americans to our country. Throughout this month, various events such as exhibits, talks, cultural programs, lecture series, book signings by authors, movie screenings, workshops, etc. are held to celebrate American Indians’ traditions, customs, and culture. The National Museum of the American Indian is hosting an exhibition, A Song for the Horse Nation: Horses in Native American Cultures, from October 29, 2011-January 7, 2013. Check out the National Park Service, the Smithsonian, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Library of Congress for other events. The Native American Heritage Month website provides access to numerous resources including exhibits and collections, images, and audio and video. Other local events/ program are hosted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Maryland Humanities Council, Goucher College, and the University of Maryland College Park.
A quick search in our catalog with various tribes’ names will show that we have books and other kinds of resources on the Hopis, Navajos, Hualapais, Havasupais, Cherokees, Apaches, Powhatans, Nanticokes, Mohawks, and so on. Additional resources are available such as the Native American History collections of the American Memory from the Library of Congress, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection from the University of Washington, the Native American digital collection from the New York State Archives, State Library, and State Museum, the Native American Images collection from the American Philosophical Society, the Colorado Plateau Archives from Northern Arizona University, Alaska’s Digital Archives, etc.
Apart from these resources, you can also see and experience the beauty and richness of the cultures of the different Native American tribes through their crafts, songs, music, and dance. Please click on the YouTube clip to hear a melodious song called the Cherokee Morning Song.
I also invite you to hear some other wonderful melodies from various tribes – the Navajo Healing Song, the Lakota Lullaby, the River (in English), the Lakota Healing Song, A Beautiful Dawn, and Children of the Stars. If you are in the mood for some flute music close your eyes and make time to listen to some of these – Four Sacred Mountains, Eagle Dance Song, Rio Grande Lullaby, Spiritual Flute, and World of Rain. As you drift away to another world with the haunting music, you will feel the sadness of the lost generations of these tribes.