Native American Heritage Month/American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage

Last month brought us the news that Dr. Juli Green, Assistant Professor in the Clinical PsyD program at Alliant San Diego, was awarded a grant from the American Psychological Association in support of Native American grad students. Dr. Green, together with her primary co-investigator, Dr. Wendy Peters of the University of North Dakota’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences, have created a program specific to the needs of North American indigenous populations. More information can be found here:  http://tinyurl.com/ldrcnfn

The announcement was timely, leading into November’s recognition of Native American Heritage Month/American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. There are a number of online and on-campus resources in which to explore Native cultures, histories, and literature. On the top floor of San Diego’s Walter Library you can check out an array of books on display this month on topics ranging from politics, biographies, geography and cultural landmarks to artwork and architecture, literary anthologies and children’s books. A list of books and DVDs in Alliant’s Special Collection of American Indian resources can be found by clicking the following link: All Locations

In addition to the vast offerings in our campus libraries, the San Diego campus finds itself bumping into history, geographically speaking, as it sits atop a portion of land where the contributions of Native Americans played an important historical role during World War II. Members of the Navajo Nation were recruited and brought to the once remote area of Camp Elliott, a (now former) base of the U.S. Marine Corps, to develop a complex communications code meant to confound anyone unfamiliar with the Navajo language. The code was so intricate that it proved unbreakable. Oral histories of those involved in developing the code can be found at the Navajo Code Talkers Website: http://navajocodetalkers.org/. Documentation and more history can be found at the National Archives site here http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/code-talkers/ and here http://tinyurl.com/6hndtj. If your reading time is limited, the NSA offers a brief history here: http://tinyurl.com/n5tlq2s

Finally, a word about books that portray Native Americans in a negative light. There has been a history of insensitive cultural imagery in literature that dates back hundreds of years and continues on into the present. The ideas and images presented between the covers are based in ignorance, apathy, just plain racism or a displaced sense of romanticism. In 2006, the Journal Star, a Nebraska newspaper, published an article titled, “Books to Avoid” with a list of books and explanations regarding why the books are inappropriate. And yes, we have a few in our collection. Use these as an opportunity to promote discussions and teachable moments about negative imagery and stereotypes. Here is a link to the article: http://tinyurl.com/m7jy4gy

Additional resources for and about Native peoples can be found below:

Affordable Housing:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housing

Book reviews and analysis, Education and Library Resources:

American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL): http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/

American Indian Library Association: http://ailanet.org/ ; http://ailanet.org/resources/

Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums: http://www.atalm.org/

Oyate, a Native organization that reviews children’s books and provides resources: http://www.oyate.org/

Economic Development:

Indian Arts and Crafts Board:  http://www.iacb.doi.gov/index.html

Minority Business Development Agency: http://www.mbda.gov/

Education:

American Indian College Fund: http://www.collegefund.org/

California Department of Education has several helpful links:

American Indian Early Childhood Education: http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ai/ec/

American Indian Education Centers: http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ai/re/aidirectory.asp

Programs and Services: http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ai/ps/

Resources: http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ai/re/

Federal Grant funding for community based projects:

Administration for Native Americans: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ana

Health:

Indian Health Service: http://www.ihs.gov/

National Library of Medicine, exhibition, Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/nativevoices/

Historical Images:

Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/coll/232_naov.html

Legal Representation:

Native American Rights Fund: http://www.narf.org/about/about_whatwedo.html

Native American Heritage Month resources from the Library of Congress:

http://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/

Teacher resources:

Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/themes/native-americans/

National Park Service: http://www.nps.gov/samo/forkids/culture.htm ;

Tribal policies and government:

National Congress of American Indians: http://www.ncai.org/. The organization also runs a Website devoted to Native American Heritage Month/American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month click this link to Learn more about Heritage Month.

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