OKMULGEE, Okla – The month of November was dedicated to celebrating Native American heritage all over the country.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation partnered with Oral Roberts University for a night dedicated to celebrating Native American heritage during a basketball game. ORU offered Muscogee Nation Citizens a voucher good for four free tickets on Nov. 21.
The game included Muscogee cultural halftime entertainment from Mvskoke Royalty and the presentation of the official game ball from MCN Principal Chief David Hill.
Principal Chief Hill also celebrated his birthday during the month on Nov. 6.
For Native American Heritage Month, the Jenks Riverwalk honored Muscogee artists Johnnie Diacon and Joe Hopkins who painted murals at the location. The murals tell stories of creation, history, and serve as a way to welcome guests.
Established in 1990 by then U.S. President George H. W. Bush, the month is reaffirmed annually with presidential proclamations.
Current U.S. President Joe Biden made his annual proclamation of the month, which included the Friday after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day.
The U.S. Department of Interior designates a theme each year. This year’s theme was “Celebrating Tribal Sovereignty and Identity”.
The DOI celebrated by taking part in the Nov. 15 social media event, Rock Your Mocs.
Rock Your Mocs started in 2011 by Jessica “Jaylyn” Atsye (Laguna Pueblo) as a worldwide Native American & Indigenous Peoples virtual unity event. It is held annually during National Native American Heritage Month.
The event has expanded from a single day to a full week, extending the opportunity to spread awareness.
This year, from Nov. 12-18, people were encouraged to wear moccasins and upload a picture or video with the hashtag, #ROCKYOURMOCS.
According to www.rockyourmocs.org, this creates an online photo album for the world to see and enjoy.
“A positive opportunity to celebrate tribal individuality united by wearing moccasins,” the website states. “We honor our ancestors, and Indigenous peoples worldwide, during Rock Your Mocs events and commemorate National Native American Heritage Month.”
The DOI also hosted the Red Shawl Day Program, another worldwide event held during the week of Nov. 15-21. The event encourages participants to wear red in order to draw attention to the Violence Against Women Act. The act particularly focuses on spreading awareness of violence against Native people by encouraging others to use the hashtag, #RedShawlWeek.
November was also big for major companies like Mattel, the creator of Barbie. They released a doll based on former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Wilma Mankiller as a part of the Inspiring Women series.
Mattel described Mankiller as “a fierce advocate for Native American and women’s rights.”
Mankiller was also celebrated by the U.S. Mint last year as a part of the American Women Quarters program. This year the Maria Tallchief (Osage) quarter was released under the program and recently circulated. Tallchief is notable for becoming America’s prima ballerina, and the first Native American to do so.
November also held celebrations for Adoption Awareness Month with MCN Children and Family Services. Lighthorse Police Department held a pet adoption event as well.
For more information on Native American Heritage Month, visit https://www.nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/.