Elevating Native Truths for Native American Heritage Month

Much about Native history, culture and traditions are unknown to non-Natives. But one thing many people do know is that Native Americans honor their ancestors and take history very seriously. And while we celebrate Native culture every day at PWNA, we’re making an extra special effort to elevate Native voices and history in November, Native American Heritage Month (#NAHM). 

“It takes 1,000 voices to tell a single story.” This is a Native proverb and one that is spot on. For example, modern day teachings of Thanksgiving weave a tale of friendly Englishmen who invited Native Americans to share a meal after the English sailed into Plymouth Rock on the Mayflower. But the inaccuracies, just in that one sentence, are astonishing. That’s why it’s so important to share real Native history and stories.

About the First Thanksgiving

Did you know the English did not even land on Plymouth Rock? The first recorded history of Plymouth Rock was not until 1715. That was some 95 years after the Mayflower landed in what was actually Cape Cod in 1620. In fact, the only true parts of the Thanksgiving tale are as follows:

  • The English did celebrate their first successful harvest with a day of thanks.
  • The Wampanoag did show up, but it was not because they were invited; it was out of concern after hearing gunshots.
  • Fowl was eaten during the meal, although there is no mention of turkey in any of the first-hand or historic accounts.

Become More NativeAware

We encourage all of you to take this time to become more NativeAware™. This Heritage Month, learn not only about the real story of the first Thanksgiving, but also the aftermath. It is still impacting Indian Country today in the form of economic and social injustice.

Accurate Native stories is something PWNA fights for and educates around. But as you read, it takes all of us to get those stories out there. Everyone from Hollywood producers to Native leaders and everyone in between can make a difference by sharing accurate Native history, culture and heritage. Follow our Heritage Month page all month to learn, share, and receive offers for downloads, Native-made giveaways and merchandise. And please, remember to donate!

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