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Equity Lens: Native American Heritage Month

November is National Native American Indian Heritage Month (Native American Heritage Month) which first started as an effort to gain recognition for the contributions of First Americans to the establishment, development, and growth of the USA. This initiative dates back to 1915 and was consolidated into a full month in 1990 by a joint resolution approved by President George H. W. Bush. Similar proclamations under various names (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

In 2020-21, Native American Community College students made up 0.5% (626) of the 123,513 students in credit programs in Iowa, and 0.3% (424) of the 146,991 students in non-credit programs in Iowa. It is projected that this Fall there will be a 0.7% decrease in Native American students in Iowa Community Colleges and a 1.9% increase nationwide.

How can we best support our Native American students?

One way is learning more about Native American histories, traditions, cultures, and languages. Research shows that nearly 80% of people in the U.S. know little to nothing about Native Americans, and 90% of schools do not teach about Native American history past 1900.

Here are some sources to get you started on learning more.

In recent years, Native American representation has been on the rise and is changing Hollywood and pop culture. Such representation can be seen in Reservation Dogs, and Spirt Rangers and more stories are making their way to the news. 

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