Although some states have honored Native Americans with a special day for more than 100 years, the first official national recognition came in November 1990, when President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating National American Indian Heritage Month.

Since 1994, similar proclamations have been issued using more inclusive names, including National American Indian Month and Alaska Native Heritage Month and Native American Heritage Month. In 2008, President Barack Obama signed legislation making National Native American Heritage Day as the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year, the holiday will be celebrated on Nov. 26. Read President Joe Biden’s 2021 proclamation.

The Native American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois is hosting a free virtual event at 9 a.m. Wednesday, it’s Third Annual Native American Professionals Breakfast. Register now to get the link.

The Chicago Public Library is offering book discussion at 5 p.m., Thurs., “A Rain of Night Birds,” by Deena Metzger, and 10:30 a.m., Sat., Nov. 27, “There There” by Tommy Orange. Also, it offers Native American Heritage Month reading recommendations for kids, teens and adults.

In Washington, D.C., numerous prominent institutions are paying tribute during the month of November, including: the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

PBS offers a collection of films and programs to celebrate the cultures, accomplishments and contributions of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. provides a list of 15 contemporary books by Native American authors, including:

  • “Heart Berries: A Memoir,” by Terese Marie Mailhot,
  • National Book Award winner, “Salvage the Bones,” by Jesmyn Ward,
  • “My Heart is a Chainsaw” by Stephen Graham Jones and
  • “Cheyenne Madonna,” by Black Sparrow Press.