National Native American Heritage Month Timeline and Facts & Figures

American Indian buying power is expected to grow to $148 billion by 2017. How will this affect your company's business strategy?

On Dec. 14, 1915, Red Fox James, a Blackfeet Indian, presented at the White House endorsements from 24 state governments for a day to honor Indians. But the federal government didn’t take action until 1983, when President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 13 as American Indian Day. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month. It is now called National Native American Heritage Month.

Click the images below, or the following links, to expand the view or download a PDF: National Native American Heritage Month Timeline and National Native American Heritage Month Facts & Figures.

Native American Heritage Month Timeline 1 250 Native American Heritage Month Facts & Figures 1 250

Recommended Articles


  • Why does the timeline start after the arrival of Europeans? Didn’t Native Americans have a history prior to that?

    • Elizabeth Phillips

      Of course they had a history before the arrival of Europeans! They just didn’t write it down with the years things happened.

  • DiversrityInc. Your font is too tiny so one cannot really get the facts of your articles and certainly cannot be reprinted for any good use. Help your readers out increase the font size PLEASE.

    • How ignorant. You must be white. Of course they had a history prior to arrival of Europeans. In fact it was long and rich. Native Americans didn’t have to ride state to get Governors support for day to celebrate and call their own because they didn’t have to before whites came and took everything for themselves, annihilated the natives and took away all their rights to their way of living. Laws and days of recognition didn’t exist before the Europeans because it wasn’t necessary. Look at the nature of these dates in history. It’s related to rights and privileges which whites took away and hence needed to be restored or rectified. Only white privilege allows you to ask this type of stupid question.

      • This is a site dedicated to diversity and inclusion. KH- your comment is just as ignorant and racist. I am not sure why you felt it necessary to call whites “ignorant.” Asking questions is part of the learning process. This site is dedicated to learning and understanding, not name calling and bigotry.

        • Luke Visconti

          I think KH didn’t understand that the original post was sarcastic. I’m all in favor of holding people accountable for their injurious comments, and effective (and harsh when the injurious comments are willful) criticism is necessary for progress. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • I appreciate the list of Natives you have but I would like it if you’d talk about/research the many LIVING Native people. Too often are we relegated to the long ago times. I’m including a list of more contemporary Natives for people to learn about:
    Sherman Alexie
    Paula Gunn-Allen
    Dennis Banks

    Adam Beach
    Ben NIghthorse Campbell
    Vine Deloria Jr.
    Sam Deloria
    Grahame Greene
    Betty May Jumper
    N. Scott Momaday
    Billy Mills
    Louis Riel
    Robby Robertson
    Will Rogers
    Buffy St. Marie
    Leslie Marmon Silko
    Wes Studi
    Jay Silverheels
    Maria Tallchief
    Jim Thorpe
    John Trudell
    James Welch
    Chris Eyre
    Gary Farmer
    Robert Mirabal
    R. Carols Nakai
    Cmdr John Herrington
    Louise Ercrich
    Gary Schildt
    Quannah Parker
    Elouise Cobell

    This is not an exhaustive list. Learn more about living Natives and how they contribute to our lives today. The past is improtant but so too is the here and now.

  • Two historic and precident dates for AI/AN were Executuve Orders signed by President CLinton. In 1996 he siged an Executive Order mandating that all Federal Deparrtments develop plans on how they can assist the 34 Tribal Colleges. The Second EO was a reinforcment about the Governments requirement to Consult with Indian Tribes on Matters That May Affect Them. These two EO’s are landmarks because they forced the FED to live up to the promises made and broken in all the Treaties (See also US Constitution) Article One, Section 8 on tribal soveirgnity that establised the “Government-To-Government relationship between Indian Tribes and the Federal Government. These two documents were continued by Pres. George Bush, and Barack Obama. People rarely are aware that as part of these, every Federal Dept must now summits an annual plan on how they will allocate targeted resources to Indian Tribes. They also have a points-of-contact at every deparment and agencies within departments.

  • Will each reservation be allowed to submit a budget request to meet the needs of the veterans who are enrolled on each reservation.

  • How about the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 which gave tribal government a much greater voice into the removal of children from their homes. Adoptions prior to that into white families was a form of cultural genocide, and occured large-scale in the Mid-West. Also, I agree that this is very biased towards the Europeans history, as there is no mention of the Haudenashaunee contibutions to democracy, their culture (I am not one of them, but live amongst them).

  • How can you say 300 Lakota Sioux killed in last BATTLE between Federal Forces and American Indians?? Everyone KNOWS that it was not a battle, Those were woman, children and old people, including the old chief and they did not fight, they ran. It is all well and good to have Diversity and information about American Indians and a timeline, but nothing could be so offensive to the Sioux as to call that a battle.

  • Perhaps you should have included North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. There are about 22 Indian reservations combined in those states.

  • What about Minnesota, North and South Dakotas? These states have American Indians living and working. I feel offended that these states were not included in this grouping. Sioux and Chippewa

  • Are you only counting the people who happen to be full bloods? How about those who happen to have a strong family history in one tribe or another? If you happen to have African American Blood in your family no matter if you are only a quarter or an eighth you are counted as being black. Why is it not done for our Native Americans? Thank you.

    • Incorrect. Blackfeet and Blackfoot tribes both exist. One is on the US side of the border, while the other is on the Canadian side of the border.

  • It’s nice to be offered these statistic’s during our month, but it seems a Native writer might have had a less ditant view of us. The third commented touch on a topic close to us, we are stereotyped as some sort of aritfact from three hundred years ago. Tha’s not what the Native people want to see or have frontpaged as what represents us. All of our acoplishments as Dr.’s ., Lawyers, Artit’s and Writers and traditional leaders in the modern world need to be what European people think of when they think of us. Again, just E mail the writer of the third comment here… they had a great handle on the topic….

  • I am very surprised that there is no mention here of the US-Dakota Conflict of 1862 in which the United States carried out the largest government sponsored mass execution US history. This conflict was in response to the Dakota being forced off their land to a tiny section along the river where they were starving (any Indian who left the area was shot on sight and the United States paid a bounty to their killer). This mass hanging was carried out the day after Christmas in 1862 and the women/children were marched to Fort Snelling internment camp where many starved and froze as they had to live outdoors for the winter. For the next several generations, children as young as 4 and 5 years old were forced into Catholic boarding schools where their native tongue was beaten out of them, many were sexually abused, and grew up to join the miliary and develop even more extensive PTSD. The ban on Native American spiritual practices was not overturned until 1978 and the Dakota exile from Minnesota is still on the books to this day! This year is the 150th Anniversary of the hangings.

    The above are just a few more facts and figures that must have been inadvertently overlooked – thanks!!

  • “States with more than 100,000 American Indian and Alaska Native residents as of 2010.” Why is 100,000 the magic number of where Native American live? You exclude many states with a smaller overall population that still have Native Americans present. It would have been nice to have different colors represent the varying numbers of either:
    1) The total population of Native Americans in each state
    2) The percentage of the state’s total population that Native Americans hold.

  • I agree that the timeline should go back over 10,000 years and include the great mound-builder civilizations and others. Native peoples were practicing democracy and freedom of choice long before Europeans “discovered” it. In fact, the formation of the U.S. was influenced by the Iroquois Confederation. Cherokees developed their own written language. The Navajo Code Talkers helped win WWII. The list goes on…

« Previous Article     Next Article »