In 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved November as National Native American Heritage Month. This month is a great opportunity for your bookstore to recognize the contributions of Native American people and encourage student shoppers to join in celebrating the rich culture. Here are 5 ideas for how your college store can celebrate National Native American Heritage Month:
Provide a list of Museums Students Can Visit
Museums are an excellent way for college students to become educated on the history and cultures of Native Americans. Many museums also offer events and other educational activities that students may be interested in. Plus, many museums offer discounts for students, so this is an affordable way to celebrate. Research what museums are in your area that students can visit and display the list in your store. Here’s a list of ten of the best Native American museums in the US.
Host an Educational Event
Oftentimes, local places such as museums, libraries, schools, or cultural groups will host events about Native American History that you can inform students of. These events can range from webinars and educational seminars, to dances and other performances. If there are no events in your community celebrating National Native American Heritage Month, you can always collaborate with one of these venues to host your own!
Provide Education on the Background of Thanksgiving
For many college students, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to eat homecooked food with family and friends and consider what they are thankful for. Some students may know the history of the first Thanksgiving of pilgrims and Native Americans sharing a friendly meal. However, most do not realize the heartache that many Native American people have over Thanksgiving. Many Native Americans actually consider it a “Day of Mourning,” pointing out the story overlooks how the introduction of European settlers spelled tragedy for indigenous communities (CNN). Provide education for students to learn about the background of Thanksgiving so they can become more thoughtful and “decolonize” their Thanksgiving celebrations.
Showcase the Works of Native American Authors
A great way to celebrate Native American history and culture is to showcase Native American authors, artists, and more. Tommy Orange, Louise Erdrich, Stephen Graham Jones, and Joy Harjo are a few Native American authors you can consider showcasing. Here is a list of eleven influential Native American artists that you could showcase as well!
Showcase Native-Owned Business or Charities
With Black Friday and the holidays around the corner, students may be interested in supporting Native-owned businesses or charities as a way of celebrating this month. Consider pointing students towards some of these businesses and charities, or better yet partner with them this month!
How are you planning on celebrating this month? Comment your ideas below!