November 12, 2021 - Native American Heritage Month

AAPS lead, care, inspire graphicNational Native American Heritage Month

Superintendent Statement
Jeanice K. Swift

November is the official month we dedicate to honoring Native Americans, to celebrate the rich cultures, traditions, histories and important contributions of Native people.  

It is important to acknowledge that the Ann Arbor Public Schools campuses are located on lands of the Anishinaabeg and Wyandot, which were ceded under Article 1 of the Treaty of Detroit in 1807. These lands continue to be the homeland of many indigenous people, and through these words of acknowledgment, we seek to reaffirm and respect their contemporary and ancestral ties to the land and to recognize their contributions to the Ann Arbor Public Schools and to our Ann Arbor community.*

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain recognition for the significant contributions of the first Americans to the establishment of our nation has resulted in the entire month of November designated to raise awareness about the unique history of our Native peoples and their strength and resiliency.  In 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November as “National American Indian Heritage Month,” thereafter commonly referred to as Native American Heritage Month.

In his 2021 Proclamation, President Joe Biden stated, “During National Native American Heritage Month, we celebrate the countless contributions of Native peoples past and present, honor the influence they have had on the advancement of our Nation, and recommit ourselves to upholding trust and treaty responsibilities, strengthening Tribal sovereignty, and advancing Tribal self-determination.” 

Native American roots are deeply embedded in the fabric of our country - a homeland loved, nurtured and strengthened by the original inhabitants of this land.  The term 'Native American' includes more than 500 diverse groups with vast differences in geographic location, language and traditional practices, including Alaska Natives, American Indians, Native Hawaiians and other indigenous peoples in our country from across the world.  

While we honor and celebrate individuals of Native American ancestry every day in our classrooms and across our schools in the AAPS, during November we explore and deepen our collective awareness and understanding through rich art, literature and other cultural and learning connections. 

We are a stronger school community as we honor, embrace and celebrate our diversity, continually create a culture of belonging for all and value the connections that unite us as an inclusive Ann Arbor community.  

The Board of Education and I invite all in the AAPS and the Ann Arbor community to join us in celebration of Native American Heritage Month.

*Land acknowledgment statement gratefully adapted from 

(Sources: Collaboration of Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institute, U.S. National Archives, National Endowment for the Arts, National Park Service, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, National Congress of American Indians - NCAI, Proclamation of President Biden)