WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It began as "National American Indian Heritage Month" in 1990, and today, National Native American Heritage Month continues to recognize and celebrate the contributions of American Indians.
The term "Native American" encompasses both American Indians and Alaska Natives. Together, they form a population of 5.4 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Across the country, there are 566 federally recognized Indian tribes and 326 federally recognized American Indian reservations. Learn how to trace your American Indian ancestry,and see if you qualify to become part of a tribe.
American Indians have made many important contributions that helped shape the history of the United States.
- A decade before American Indians were granted citizenship, Blackfoot Red Fox James rode from state to state on horseback in 1804 to gain support for a day to honor American Indians.
- Sacagawea was a valuable member of the Lewis and Clark expedition across the West from 1804 to 1806. She identified landmarks in her Shoshone homelands, helped to communicate with other Indians, and shared her knowledge of local plants as useful sources of medicine and food.
- During World War II, hundreds of Navajo U.S. Marines were enlisted as code talkers to transmit secret government messages in their native language, which successfully defeated attempts to decipher it.
Explore more American Indian history and cultural traditions at the National Museum of the American Indian and Native American Heritage Month websites. And find helpful government services and programs for Native Americans on USA.gov
USAGov is a federal program that guides you to tips and tools in English and in Spanish from hundreds of government agencies, departments, and programs. We make it easier for you to find answers you can trust about government information and services--online, by phone, e-mail or chat, and in print.
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