WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With 567 federally recognized Indian tribes and 6.6 million people, Native American culture is diverse, with different languages, values, and beliefs. National Native American Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates Native Americans' many contributions to the United States. These include:
- The Wampanoag, who attended the first Thanksgiving --They were essential to the survival of the colonists during the newcomers' first year. Today there are about 6,500 Wampanoag, roughly half of whom reside in Massachusetts.
- Native Americans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces in every major military conflict since the Revolutionary War -- A National Native American Veterans Memorial will be built in Washington, DC to honor their contributions and patriotism.
- Students at the tribal college Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana -- They designed, built, tested, and operated a NASA-sponsored satellite camera (PDF, Download Adobe Reader) that takes pictures of Earth.
Explore Native American history and cultural traditions at the National Museum of the American Indian and Native American Heritage Month websites. Learn how to trace American Indian ancestry and see if you qualify to become part of a tribe. View the 2016 Native American $1 Coin that honors Native American code talkers during World Wars I and II. And find helpful government services and programs for Native Americans at USAGov.