5 Ways to Honor Native Americans

  • by Nadine Fonseca

As parents, caregivers, and educators, we work hard to model respect, gratitude, and a love of learning to the little ones looking up to us. Regardless of our level of understanding around the history of our nation, we can always take the opportunity to learn alongside our children. As we learn better, we do better, together! 


At Mighty Kind, we are honored to partner with incredible experts representing diverse cultures and communities to provide education and resources in helping everyone move forward on our respective anti-bias/anti-racist lifestyle journeys side-by-side with the kids in our lives. 


This Native American Heritage Month and with Thanksgiving upon us, we are delighted to have Meredith Lam (Diné), project and program manager with the nonprofit American Indian Services to help guide us through some ways to elevate our Thanksgiving experience with respect, gratitude, and love for the Indigenous Peoples who have cared for this land for centuries. For more incredible stories of Indiginous Peoples of North America (both ancient and modern!), grab a copy of Mighty Kind’s Home Issue and snuggle up with your kiddo to learn more! Kicking off with the tips below will make this Thanksgiving holiday (and each one to come) more meaningful and more impactful.

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Meredith Lam: "The American story of the first Thanksgiving has been profoundly shaped and told by larger society, but has failed to include the perspectives of the Native American people; this results in false and almost always incomplete stories. Indigenous people have rarely been the narrators of their own stories and it’s time we reconsider the ways we amplify their voices and change the narrative surrounding the first Thanksgiving."

 

1. LEARN THE REAL HISTORY

Many of us remain unsure of the role Native people have played during the first Thanksgiving⁠—or in shaping our country. Learn about Thanksgiving and early colonial history from Native perspectives. Here are some amazing books to better educate ourselves and our children.

Native American History for Kids by Karen Bush Gibson 

Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac

The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose

1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O’Neill Grace

 

2. BRING NATIVE AMERICAN DISHES TO THE DINNER TABLE

This year gather together to create a feast that celebrates the flavors of the traditional Indigenious diet. You’ll find that the recipes are healthy and based around sustainable ingredients. Discover some of the modern Native American chefs and the heritage recipes they share below.

The Sioux Chef, Seth Sherman

Birch Basket, Hillel Echo-Hawk

Chef Braveheart, Kimberly Tilsen 

 

3. LISTEN TO INDIGENOUS VOICES

Increase your knowledge and understanding of Indigenous communities by reading books by Indigenous authors, adding Indigenous influencers to your social media feed, or listening to Indigenous vocalists and musical groups. 

 

4. SUPPORT INDIGENOUS-OWNED BUSINESSES

Indigenous-owned and led brands celebrate and preserve the creativity, history, and culture of Indigenous peoples. Consider supporting and buying your holiday gifts from an Indigenious-owned business this year. We’ve listed some of our favorites!

TPMOCS

Cheekbone Beauty

Yellowtail

Teton Trade Cloth

Beyond Buckskin Boutique

Ginew

 

5. DONATE TO A NONPROFIT THAT SUPPORTS NATIVE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES

Consider supporting a charitable organization that respects, protects, and provides essential services to Native American communities. 

American Indian Services is one of the longest-running organizations dedicated to providing educational programs and college scholarships to Native American students in need. 

Adopt-A-Native-Elder serves to help reduce extreme poverty and hardship facing traditional Elders living on the Navajo Reservation. A trusted humanitarian organization focused on delivering food, medical supplies, firewood and other forms of Elder support. Respecting the tradition and dignity of Navajo Elders, we create relationships to honor and serve the Elders.

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For more opportunities to understand and connect with diverse cultures and communities, check out the family-friendly edutainment resources available at MightyKindKids.com

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