Native American Heritage Month 2023: Honoring a Rich Cultural Legacy

Nov 1, 2023

Native American History Month 2023

Native American Heritage Month is observed every November. The significance lies in its ability to educate others about the culture and history of Native Americans. It is a time to learn about their traditions, customs, and beliefs and recognize the challenges that Native Americans have faced and continue to face.


Native American Heritage Month has its roots in the early 20th century. In 1915, Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, rode on horseback from state to state to get endorsements for a day to honor Native Americans. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed a joint resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Since then, the month has recognized Native American contributions.

What to know about Native American Heritage Month and the history of Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee has a rich history of Native American culture. The area was home to several tribes, including the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Shawnee. The tribes had a significant impact on the area’s history and culture. Today, several sites in Middle Tennessee are dedicated to preserving Native American history and heritage.

One of the most significant sites is the Mound Bottom State Archaeological Area in Cheatham County. The site is home to several prehistoric Native American mounds that date back to 1000-1300 AD. The mounds are believed to have been used for ceremonial purposes and are a testament to the area’s rich Native American heritage.

Native American Heritage Preservation Efforts

Preserving Native American heritage ensures their culture and history are not lost. There are several organizations dedicated to preserving Native American heritage.

Native American Indian Association of Tennessee (NAIA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Native American culture and heritage in Tennessee. The organization offers various programs and events designed to educate others about Native American history and culture.

Tennessee Native Plant Society is another organization committed to preserving Native American heritage. The organization is dedicated to the conservation and study of native plants in Tennessee and works to educate others about the important role that these plants play in Native American culture.

Prominent Historical Native American sites in Tennessee

Citico Mound

Citico Town and Mound was a major center of the Coosa confederacy at the mouth of Citico Creek in the area of what is now Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The Passage

The Passage is a pedestrian link between downtown Chattanooga and the Tennessee River and marks the beginning of the Trail of Tears.

Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park

In addition to several miles of trails, Pinson Mounds contains at least 15 Native American mounds, used for both burial and ceremonial purposes.

Audubon Acres

Audubon Acres is Chattanooga’s oldest wildlife sanctuary and one of the largest publicly viewable Native artifact collections in the state. Also available is the Spring Frog Cabin, a meticulously preserved Trail of Tears site.

The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum

The only tribally operated historical attraction in Tennessee is the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum. Operated by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, this museum tells the story of Sequoyah, the creator of the Cherokee writing system.