This November at Business Impact NW, we are thrilled to be celebrating National Native American Heritage Month (NAHM), also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. It is our honor to amplify the ingenuity of the many First Nations Peoples of the United States, past and present, whose cultures and resilience allow our cities and communities to thrive.
NAHM had its origins in Rochester, New York, back in 1912. Dr. Arthur C Parker, a Senecan Indian, convinced the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans”. In 1915 the Annual Congress of the American Indian Association approved a plan for American Indian Day. Although this plan was presented to the White House in December 1915 with the support of 24 states, thanks to Red Fox James- a Blackfoot Indian, it was not approved.
In 1986, Congress passed a law that authorized and requested President Ronald Reagan to proclaim the week of November 23rd-30th “American Indian Week.” Both the law and the proclamation recognized Native Americans as the first inhabitants of the lands and honored their contributions to American society. And it was in 1990 President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution declaring November 1990 ‘National American Indian Heritage Month’.
At Business Impact NW, we are excited to share some resources, and we encourage you to show your solidarity with the Indigenous people of the United States beyond this month and keep it going all year long!
A critical step in recognizing native lands and tribes is to learn which territory you inhabit.
Learn about the native land you are on visit Native Land here.
Learn the full history of the month here or here.
To learn more about the Duwamish Tribe, the first nations people of Seattle (where the first office of Business Impact NW is based), visit their website here.
Support a local small business (or two) by searching the resource, Intentionalist, here.
About the author
Alyssa Pizarro is the Strategic Partner & Diversity Officer at Business Impact NW. Alyssa is responsible for the organization’s relationships and diversity focus. Before this, Alyssa served as the Corporate Giving Officer at Business Impact NW for a year and a half. Alyssa’s previous nonprofit experience was in the Development Department at Yoga Behind Bars, from career beginnings as a 10-year fashion sales manager and director in New York before moving to Seattle in 2013. Alyssa has combined her passion for social justice and community engagement with her corporate experience to culminate in her current role at Business Impact NW. She completed one year of her MBA at Northeastern University and has a Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany, with a double major in Anthropology & Women’s Studies. Alyssa is also a yoga instructor, a pup-mom, a forever-learner, and a fair-weather jogger.