Meet Influential Native Americans with Biography In Context

2 min read

| By Laura Avery |

What’s the first thing you usually think of when November rolls around? Probably turkey dinner with all the trimmings, along with getting a jump on holiday shopping.

However, November is also Native American Heritage Month, dedicated to recognize the contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the United States. For example, Squanto—who helped European settlers survive and acted as an intermediary between the cultures—and Sacagawea—who was an interpreter for explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark—are prime examples of Native Americans who used their deep knowledge of the land and other tribes to assist newcomers.

Native Americans continue to perform important roles in this country, in all walks of life: Diane Humetewa  was appointed the first Native American woman to serve in a federal court, author Leslie Marmon Silko blends western literary forms with the oral traditions of her heritage, and activist Suzan Shown Harjo has worked on legislation to protect Native American rights. Sam Bradford was the first Native American to win college football’s Heisman trophy, actors Graham Greene and Wes Studi have appeared in a variety of film roles, and Maria Tallchief was a world-renowned ballerina.

If you’d like to learn more about the lives of these people, check out their topic pages in Gale’s Biography In Context.

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U.S. History In Context also has a wealth of information to share to help you raise awareness this Native American Heritage Month. We also have a program guide, social media posts, a web banner, and scavenger hunt to use with your patrons. Download Native American Heritage Month marketing materials.

Meet the Author

A longtime appreciator of words, Laura Avery has worked at Gale for nearly 20 years. A lover of cats, Junior Mints, and her kids (not necessarily in that order), Laura enjoys reading, visiting the Detroit Zoo, and binge-watching cooking shows.


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