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Native American Heritage Month 2022

Get Oriented: Maps, Atlases, and more

  • State of California Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC)'s Digital Atlas of California Native Americans: displays a collection of map layers related to the history and cultural heritage of Native Americans in California. 
  • Mapping Indigenous L.A. (UCLA): Showcases multiple layers of indigenous Los Angeles through digital storytelling and oral history with community leaders, youth, and elders from indigenous communities throughout the city.
  • Stories From the Map Cave: the Tongva (Los Angeles Public Library): "Before Los Angeles, there was Yangna, home to the Tongva people, Native Americans who numbered at least 5,000 in the Los Angeles Basin before the arrival of Europeans. In the latest episode of Stories From the Map Cave, Map Librarian Glen Creason explores two maps which document the history and geography of the Tongva: the stunning Kirkman-Harriman Pictorial and Historical Map of Los Angeles County and the Gabrielino Indians at the Time of the Portola Expedition."

Primary Sources

  • Native American Primary Source Sets (Digital Public Library of America): primary source collections exploring topics in Native American history and culture developed by educators. 
  • Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian: published between 1907 and 1930, the contents of this digital photo archive contain the stunning and controversial images that largely defined Native Americans in popular culture.
  • Indian Removal Act: Primary Documents in American History (Library of Congress): contains digital materials at the Library of Congress related to the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and its after-effects, as well as links to external websites and a selected print bibliography.
  • Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations (The Smithsonian): Native Nations made treaties with one another long before Europeans came to the Western Hemisphere. The United States began making treaties with Native Peoples because they were independent nations. Often broken, sometimes coerced, treaties still define mutual obligations between the United States and Indian Nations.
  • First Nations Collection (Southern Oregon Digital Archives): documents, books, and articles relating to the indigenous peoples of southwestern Oregon and northern California.

Arts & Culture

TED Talks

Still invisible and often an afterthought, Indigenous peoples are uniting to protect the world's water, lands and history -- while trying to heal from genocide and ongoing inequality. Tribal attorney and Couchiching First Nation citizen Tara Houska chronicles the history of attempts by government and industry to eradicate the legitimacy of Indigenous peoples' land and culture, including the months-long standoff at Standing Rock which rallied thousands around the world. "It's incredible what you can do when you stand together," Houska says. "Stand with us -- empathize, learn, grow, change the conversation."

Indigenous languages across North America are under threat of extinction due to the colonial legacy of cultural erasure, says linguist Lindsay Morcom. Highlighting grassroots strategies developed by the Anishinaabe people of Canada to revive their language and community, Morcom makes a passionate case for enacting policies that could protect Indigenous heritage for generations to come.

When you think of North American cuisine, do Indigenous foods come to mind? Chef Sean Sherman serves up an essential history lesson that explains the absence of Native American culinary traditions across the continent, highlighting why revitalizing Indigenous education sits at the center of a better diet and healthier relationship with the planet.

Films on Demand

Cry of the Yurok film still

The Yuroks, California’s largest Native American tribe, have lived near the mouth of the Klamath and Trinity Rivers for 10,000 years. This program details the many problems that beset them as they try to survive: their lands overrun by prospectors and soldiers in the 19th century, the primeval forest cut by lumber companies, environmental destruction that has nearly wiped out the fish on which they traditionally depend. Some of the Yuroks remain on the reservation, others have moved to the cities; all are caught in a many-sided battle between the dominant white world and the world of the Indian.

Restoring Paradise film still

Arriving at the islands 13,000 years ago, the Chumash people discovered a true paradise. Life was so abundant, both on land and in the sea, it made it seem like resources were infinite. That is, until the first European colonists came to settle.

Upstream Battle film still

The Karuk, Yurok, and Hoopa peoples live along northern California’s Klamath River, and each tribe’s ancient culture revolves around the majestic Pacific salmon. Today, four large hydroelectric dams have made salmon extinction a real and frightening possibility. This case study follows tribal members as they confront the owners of the dams—specifically, a global energy giant in Scotland, which is subsequently bought out by Warren Buffett’s corporate empire. Will tribal members manage to persuade the richest man in the world to save their salmon and their societies? Irrigation and commercial fishing also figure into this desperate battle over the life of a river.

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