November is Native American Heritage Month. And while most Americans will spend this month celebrating Thanksgiving and prepping for winter holidays, we should all take the time to inform ourselves about the culture, traditions, history, and contributions of Native American and Indigenous peoples.

Currently, there are 574 federally recognized Tribes in the United States. However, many others are still advocating for recognition. Even though Native Americans make up over 2% of the U.S. population, much of their history and contributions have been forgotten or overlooked. This month, let’s celebrate the amazing things that Native American and Indigenous peoples are doing in the world today. 

Indigenous influencers taking the media by storm 

One way to celebrate Native American History Month is by following and supporting Indigenous influencers– although this isn’t exclusive to November! While social media has its flaws, it has united people from all over the world and allowed them to share their culture with others. Here are just a few of the many Indigenous influencers proudly sharing their traditions with the world. 

Quannah Chasinghorse

Twenty-year-old model and activist, Quannah Chasinghorse, is a fourth-generation land protector for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Alaska Wilderness League. She is known for using her platform to support Indigenous sovereignty and sustainability. She has lobbied against oil leasing and participated in climate rallies, speaking on climate action and Indigenous rights. Chasinghorse has dedicated herself and her platform to preserving her land for future generations. You can follow her on Instagram to learn more about sustainable fashion, climate change, and Indigenous rights. 

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez 

Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez, known as xiuhtezcatl on Instagram, is an environmental activist and musical artist. As a teenager, he gave TED talks about the effects of fossil fuels on Indigenous communities and was invited to speak before the United Nations on environmental policy. Martinez was 15 years old at the time and gave the speech in English, Spanish, and his native language, Nahuatl. That same year, Martinez and 21 others filed a lawsuit against the US Federal government, arguing that the federal government was denying their constitutional right to life, liberty, and property by ignoring climate change. However, Martinez didn’t stop there. In 2017, he attempted to sue Donald Trump over inaction on global warming. Climate change has hit Native Americans particularly hard as extreme weather eats away at tribal land, forcing many tribes inland. 

Charlie Amáyá Scott 

Navajo Nation citizen Charlie Amáyá Scott is a transgender social media influencer, scholar, and advocate who is speaking out about issues facing the queer Native American community. As a Ph.D. candidate, their dissertation is focused on what settler colonialism means to Native students. Their work urges others to be a part of the solution by supporting queer Indigenous peoples. Scott also leads workshops that support Indigenous students in higher education. As their Instagram tagline declares, they definitely inspire joy and justice.

For Native American History Month, Scott and others are creating a short series on their favorite Native authors and books–something to keep an eye out for! 

James Jones 

If you’ve been on TikTok at all in the past three years, odds are that you’ve seen James Jones, otherwise known as Notorious Cree on Instagram. In 2020, he brought Indigenous dancing to mainstream media, wearing his traditional regalia and wielding hoops around his arms. His performances combine traditional hoop dancing with modern breakdancing. Since then, he has accumulated nearly four million followers on TikTok. Along with sharing the traditions of Indigenous dancing, he also raises awareness about the injustices happening in Native communities and shares how to support Indigenous peoples if you’re not Indigenous. 

@notoriouscree Happy to be doing this @amazonfashion project with my bro @m.o.b.i.l.i.z.e Amazon Canada launched #AmazonDesignerSpotlight to share 6 Canadian designers stories. Dusty, the designer of Mobilize, and I have been friends for over 15 years and fashion is a huge part of the hip hop community, so it’s dope I get to mix my fits with an Indigenous designer who is also a part of my community. #ad ♬ original sound - James Jones

Michelle Chubb

Michelle Chubb, also known as Indigenous Baddie, initially rose to fame by jingle dress dancing on TikTok. She is determined to use her platform to educate others about the issues Indigenous people face, specifically residential schools and the thousands of missing or murdered Indigenous women. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that the murder rate for women living on reservations is ten times higher than the national average, and the third leading cause of death for Native women. This is exactly the type of injustice that Indigenous Baddie raises awareness about. Chubb recently welcomed a baby girl into the world and now shares the beauty of Indigenous motherhood on her platform. 

How you can celebrate Native American Heritage Month?

How can you be a part of this celebration? To better understand the importance of cultural dress, traditions, and customs, you can spend the month attending Native American-centered events and reading books written by Native American authors. Some recently published books by Native American writers include “Calling for a Blanket Dance” by Oscar Hokeah, “Poet Warrior: A Memory” by Joy Harjo, and Toni Jensen’s “Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land.” Not only does buying books support authors and help educate others, but it also will hopefully give more Native people the ability to share their stories. 

When you’re buying gifts for loved ones this holiday, consider buying from Native and Indigenous-owned businesses. Eighth Generation is a Seattle-based art and lifestyle brand owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe. They partner with community-based Native artists around the country. In 2000, the Chickasaw Nation purchased Bedré Fine Chocolate, a luxury chocolate brand. Medicine of the People develops products with respect for traditions, considering themselves the most traditional Native herb company in the country. 

As we dive into the holidays and celebrate with our loved ones, let’s be sure to remember the entirety of our country’s history and take action to right historic injustices.