We have published many books over the years by or about Native Americans, and we continue to look for authentic Native stories to publish—we’ve even made publishing under-represented voices part of our ongoing mission. Because of this, Native American Heritage Month is especially resonant with us here at West Margin Press. We believe that it is important to not only recognize during the month of November, but all the time.
100 Ways To Help
Vice published a humorous yet equally (if not more) insightful commentary on the Do’s and Dont’s of how to support Native culture. Written by Simon Moya-Smith in November of 2018, the information is just as pertinent and informative today as it was that year. While we won’t quote the whole thing (because she listed 100 points!), we did list a few points she made that are very worth sharing and added a few of our own.
- Share Native Voices and read books by Indigenous writers (like Vine Deloria Jr., Louise Erdich, and N. Scott Momaday and Tommy Orange).
- Get your kids involved in indigenous activities – the more children are exposed to different cultures, and authentic traditions in real life, the less they will be affected by stereotypes.
- Use your privilege and platform to speak out against the oppression of Natives and create opportunities to empower more allies to do the same. For example, if you have a following or are in a position of authority, use it to illuminate issues in Indian country.
- Support Native-owned business.
- Know how many tribes and nations are in your state and local to your area.
- Be mindful of your language. Get to know more perspectives and be careful and cognizant of the way Native people are portrayed in the media, in sports and in any industry.
- Explore authentic traditions. Recently, we read a thought provoking article in the New York Times by Sean Sherman, also known as the Sioux Chef. There, he talks about Thanksgiving and shares a few simple recipes definitely worth making.
- Support Native artists. We recently discovered Matika Willbur from Project 562, who’s embarking on the ambitious project of interviewing and photographing all 562 plus Native American territories throughout the US. You can donate to her project here.
- Use social media positively. The hashtag, #NativeTwitter is where you can find Native users online – follow more Native accounts and diversify your feed!
- Be Aware. Did you know that Natives, per capita, serve in the US military more than any other racial demographic?
We hope this blog post helped give you some tools and insights around honoring our First Peoples. Native American Heritage Month is so much more than just one designated post online. If you haven’t already, check out some of our books by and about Native people. We’re really proud to share their stories and hope you love them just as much we do.