15 ways to celebrate Native American Heritage Month in NYC

November 1, 2022

Photo of the National Museum of the American Indian courtesy of Wikimedia; Photo of AMNH’s Northwest Coast Hall  courses of D. Finnin/AMNH

In November, we celebrate Native American Heritage Month as a way to commemorate the cultures, histories, and traditions of indigenous peoples across the country. Although New York became the first state to recognize “American Indian Day” in 1916, it’s important to remember that the forceful removal of Native people from their homes is inextricably linked to the history of New York City and the surrounding area. Ahead, find ways to honor Native American Heritage Month, from events at the National Museum of the American Indian to nature-inspired tours through city parks.

Image courtesy of John Gillespie on Flickr

Visit the National Museum of the American Indian
1 Bowling Green, Manhattan
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is hosting a variety of virtual and in-person events throughout the month in celebration of Native American Heritage Month.

On November 1 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., the museum is hosting Youth in Action: Reclaiming the Stage, a conversation with young Indigenous actors and playwrights who are reimagination Native representations in theater. The event is free but advanced registration is required.

From November 18 through 25, the museum will host the 2022 Native Cinema Showcase, an annual celebration of the best in Indigenous film. Hosted online, the program includes 35 films that represent 30 Native nations from eight different countries. Ten distinct Indigenous languages are spoken in the films, and genres include documentaries, music videos, kid-friendly shorts, and more.

On November 25 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4 p.m., legendary hoop dancer Joseph Secody from the Navajo Nation will teach guests about the history of hoop dancing in Native culture and give demonstrations.

NAMI’s ongoing Native New York exhibition is also available for museum guests throughout the entire month. The exhibit asks the question “what makes New York a native place?” by exploring 12 locations throughout the state and covering pre-Revolutionary to contemporary events.

Photo courtesy of D. Finnin/AMNH

American Museum of Natural History’s Northwest Coast Hall
200 Central Park Museum, Manhattan
Located within the AMNH, the newly renovated Northwest Coast Hall features exhibits developed alongside Indigenous communities that highlight the rich history and culture of the peoples native to the Pacific Northwest. The gallery space contains more than 1,000 artifacts including the largest Northwest Coast dugout canoe in existence, as well as a diverse collection of art, some reaching up to 17 feet tall. The hall opened as the museum’s first gallery in 1899, dedicated to the “interpretation of cultures.” Admission to the Northwest Coast Hall is included with any AMNH ticket purchase.

Red Storm Drum and Dance Crew celebrate Native American Heritage Month
Staten Island Children’s Museum
November 5 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, the Red Storm Drum and Dance Crew will be performing at Staten Island’s Children’s Museum and sharing the history of America’s indigenous people through stories and music.

Coloring Stories: Native American Heritage Edition
3025 Cross Bronx Expressway, Bronx
November 7 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Recommended for kids ages five to 12, the New York Public Library is hosting a special event at its Throg’s Neck branch in celebration of Native American Heritage Month. Guests will read through Traci Sorell’s Powwow Day, a contemporary Native American children’s book. There will be coloring pages for participants to fill in as they read.

Photo courtesy of Terry Ballard on Flickr

Native Americans: Indigenous Roots
Crocheron Park, Queens
November 12 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Guests will learn all about Queens’ indigenous peoples on this hike led by the Urban Park Rangers through Crocheron Park. The Rangers will focus on the significance of trees used in the everyday lives of indigenous peoples, including osage orange, tulip trees, red cedar, elms, white pines, and more. Attendance is free.

Online Book Discussion: Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land by Toni Jensen
November 14 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The staff at Muhlenberg Library is hosting an online-only event that will discuss Toni Jensen’s Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land. The memoir was described by the New York Times as a “powerful, poetic memoir about what it means to exist as an Indigenous woman in America, told in snapshots of the author’s encounters with gun violence.”

Autumn Dance Celebration at the Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens
November 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
At the Queens Farm this month, the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, the oldest resident Native American dance company in New York, will host an Autumn Dance Celebration, a tradition to give thanks in autumn for the summer harvest. The celebration will include performances by representatives of eight Indian Nations, with dancers dressed in full regalia. There will also be a Native American craft and food market with authentic art, ceramics, jewelry, and more. Tickets are required to attend and cost $15 for adults, $10 for those ages 4-11, and are free for children 3 and under.

Sunset Park Book Discussion: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
4201 4th Avenue, Brooklyn
November 17 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The Sunset Park Library is celebrating Native American Heritage Month with a special hosting of its monthly adult book discussion. The discussion will cover An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s groundbreaking work that tells the history of the United State’s Indigenous peoples from their perspective. Advanced registration is required.

Virtual Comics Chat – Native American Heritage Month and Food Comics
November 17 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
This online-only event will be hosted by three librarians from the New York Public Library’s (NYPL) Riverside Library branch, who will share some of their favorite comics and manga. The theme of the event will be food comics, and books relating to Native American Heritage Month will be featured. Teens who take part in the virtual chat and visit the library will receive a free comic book. Advanced registration is required.

Photo courtesy of klp.nyc on Flickr

Native Americans: Native Americans Past to Present
Van Courtlandt Nature Center, Bronx
November 19 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The Urban Park Rangers are hosting a discussion in Van Courtlandt Park on the past and present experiences of Native Americans in the Bronx. The park was first inhabited by the Wiechquaskeck Lenapes around 1000 A.D. The Rangers will explore how the Lenape used the area’s plants, wildlife, and natural features and how their history still impacts the Bronx today. Attendance is free.

Native Americans: Living With The Lenape
Great Lawn in Conference House Park, Staten Island
November 20 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The Urban Park Rangers are hosting another event at Conference House Park’s Great Lawn in Staten Island that explains how native tribes like the Lenape used the area in everyday life. The discussion will delve into the ways the indigenous tribe utilized waterways, native plants, and other wildlife to live, and how their influence lives on into modern times. Attendance is free.

Native Americans: The Lenape
Salt Marsh Nature Center in Marine Park, Brooklyn
November 26 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The Lenape were the first inhabitants of the area in and around Brooklyn’s Marine Park, utilizing the area’s abundant natural resources. Pits to cook and prepare food were discovered in Marine Park dating from 800 to 1400 A.D., as well as animal bones, oyster shells, and other remnants of indigenous people’s artifacts. Join the Urban Park Rangers for a discussion on how the Lenape used Marine Park’s wildlife and waterways and how their legacy continues throughout Brooklyn. Attendance is free.

Photo via WikiCommons

Native Americans: The Lenape of Manahatta
Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
November 27 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The Urban Park Rangers are hosting another tour through a New York City park with significant ties to Indigenous people’s history. Inwood Hill Park in Manhattan, the largest forest land in the borough, was home to the Lenape through the 17th century. The Rangers will take visitors to different historic sites within the park and learn about how the Lenape used the surrounding landscape in everyday life. Attendance is free.

Online Film Discussion: Hostiles
November 28 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The staff of the Muhlenberg Library is hosting a film discussion for Hostiles, a 2017 film starring Christian Bale that covers the events of a U.S. Army Captain who escorts a dying Cheyenne war chief back to his tribal lands. Event participants must have watched the film at home before the discussion, which is available in the library’s collection. Those interested in attending the event can register here.

Take part in the New York Botanical Garden’s celebratory events 
November 1 through November 30
Over the course of the month, the NYBG is hosting a variety of on-site events celebrating Native American history in and around the 50-acre Thain Family Forest, the largest untouched area of New York City’s original wooded landscape.

The NYBG is located on land that is part of Lenapehoking, the original homeland of the Lenni Lenape people which spans from northern Delaware to the Hudson Valley and from eastern Pennsylvania to western Connecticut.

On-site programs include:

  • Forest Tours with Representatives of Moskehtu Consulting
    November 12 and 13, 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m.
    Representatives of Moskehtu, a Native American-owned Cultural and Heritage Preservation firm, are taking guests on a guided tour through the Thain Family Forest. The tours will give insight into the ecology of the forest from an Indigenous perspective, aiming to educate visitors on how to protect and share the culture and history of the area.
  • Flavors of Fall with Kini Kahauolopua
    November 12 and 13 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    Chef Kini Kahauolopua will teach participants about techniques for preparing native Hawaiian foods using ingredients like kalo (taro) and other plant species that celebrate the connection of kānaka, or humankind.
  • Nahua Recipes Rediscovered: Native-Mexican Culinary Celebration
    November 18 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    Chef Irwin Sánchez will be leading a demonstration and analyzing the connection between traditional Mexican cooking and the Nahuatl language. Advanced registration is required.
  • Native Forest Tour with Chenae Bullock
    This ongoing tour through the Thrain Family Forest will share some facts and stories about the useful and edible plants used by Indigenous people of the American Northeast.

NYBG is also hosting a variety of virtual events, including:

More information on the month’s events can be found here.


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