Honoring Native American Heritage Month

November 2, 2021 9:29 AM
by Delana Gbenekama

Image courtesy of the Santa Monica History Museum

November is Native American Heritage Monthalso known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. It's a time to acknowledge and commemorate the culture and contributions of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas who flourished here and cared for the land for millennia before the arrival of European settlers and the genocide and displacement of many of their people. 

The Tongva were the first inhabitants of Santa Monica, acting as stewards of the land by avoiding the overuse of natural resources. They still live here today and actively preserve sites such as the Kuruvungna Sacred Springs 

Let’s dedicate the month to learning more about the people who are still among us on this land where we work and where some of us live. Learn about their wealthy trading economystaple foodstheir revered leader Toypurina and more by viewing this video based on the People of the Earth: Life and Culture of the Tongva” exhibit that was featured at the Santa Monica History Museum in 2018. 

You can also check out the following KCRW piece and UCLA story map on the Tongva: 



Below are additional educational resources and an upcoming event for families in honor of Native American Heritage Month 




WhatCelebrating Native American Heritage Month: Hoop Dancing with Terry Goedel 


When: Thursday, November 4 from 4-5 p.m. at the Central Courtyard 


DescriptionThe art of hoop dance honors cultural traditions from multiple Indigenous communities as an artistic expression to celebrate and share Indigenous traditions. Learn more from world champion hoop dancer Terry Goedel (Yakama/Tulalip).  


Registration: To register, email myleen.dejesus@santamonica.gov. Space is limited. 



Here is a recommended selection of fiction and nonfiction books and eBooks compiled by the Santa Monica Library’s Kids Staff for kids and family sharing and discussion during Native American Heritage MonthFor more books, search the X970.1 and X398.2397 call numbers in the library catalog. 

Authored By

Delana Gbenekama
Equity and Communications Program Manager