National Native American Heritage Month (or, as it is commonly known, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month) is celebrated in November. To commemorate the contributions of Native Americans in the U.S. the University Libraries has created this guide to provide a glimpse into the rich and diverse stories, cultures, and traditions. We invite you to browse through a broad range of books and films, most of which can be found in the library's collection, and other resources that are widely available on online platforms.
We acknowledge that Texas A&M University (College Station) is situated on the land of multiple Native nations, past and present. These original homelands are the territory of Indigenous peoples who were largely dispossessed and removed. We specifically acknowledge the traditional stewardship of this land by the Tonkawa, Tawakoni, Hueco, Sana, Wichita, and Coahuiltecan peoples.
We pledge to support and advocate for the histories, cultures, languages, and territorial rights of historic Indigenous peoples of Texas and the Indigenous people that live here now. This statement affirms continuous Indigenous presence and rights, acknowledges the ongoing effects of settler colonization, and supports Indigenous struggles for political, legal, and cultural sovereignty.
On October 8, 1976, President Gerald Ford issued Proclamation 4468, which declared October 10-16, 1976 as "Native American Awareness Week", calling for Americans in the light of the Bicentennial to "join with our native Americans in rebuilding an awareness, understanding and appreciation for their historical role and future participation in our diverse American society." The legislation authorizing this proclamation was written by J.C. Elliott-High Eagle, a Cherokee who had worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for decades (his role in computing a safe return trajectory for the Apollo 13 astronauts in 1970 earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Richard Nixon). This statement was the precursor to the Native American Heritage Month we recognize today.
NAHM began its official existence on August 3, 1990, when President George H.W. Bush approved a Joint Resolution of Congress that declared the month of November 1990 to be 'Native American Indian Heritage Month'. The resolution notes, among other things, that "American Indians have made an essential and unique contribution to our Nation, not the least of which is the contribution of most of the land which now comprises these United States." Since 1994, Presidents have issued similar proclamations every year designating each November as National Native American Heritage Month. The month is marked by federal, state and local celebrations and educational explorations of Native cultures.
A Spanish manuscript map showing area from San Antonio, Texas (west), to New Orleans (east), mouth of the Mississippi River (south), to Southern Illinois (north).
This map is the earliest known graphic representation of the presidio at San Saba (present-day Menard, TX).
The map was initially drawn by a 32-year-old French deserter (from Arkansas Post) who made his way to San Saba, where the Commandant ordered him to produce a map starting from New Orleans and showing the locations of the indigenous villages in relation to the presidios of San Saba, Los Adaes, and San Antonio de Bexar.
Several Native villages are shown on the maps, including Tawakoni, Yscanis (which disappeared around 1794 - likely merged with the Tawakonis near present-day Waco), and Taovayas. It is the first known map depicting Native settlements in what is now Texas.
This item is part of the Map Collection at Cushing Memorial Library & Archives. To view the catalog holding, please click here.
Texas was home to hundreds of tribes of American Indians. Currently, there are three federally recognized Native Reservations in Texas but there are tribal members from other Native Nations who reside across the state. To view a list of tribes in Texas - past and present - please visit the Texas State Library & Archives Commission website to learn more. Be advised that it may not be a comprehensive history, as it lacks the point of view of Native peoples.
"Ysleta del Sur Pueblo (YDSP) is one of three federally recognized Native American tribes, and the only Pueblo, in the State of Texas. The current YDSP population is approximately 4,226 members nationwide. Thirteen miles from downtown El Paso, Ysleta, Texas has been home to the Tigua people for over 300 years.
During the period of early Spanish settlement (1598–1680), relations between the Pueblo Indians and the Spaniards were strained, which brought fierce oppression of all Pueblo people. In 1680, New Mexico Pueblo Indians rebelled against the Spaniards. This caused many tribal factions to relocate to modern-day northern New Mexico and West Texas, which includes the El Paso/Tigua region. The Tigua people of Ysleta del Sur were industrious farmers who raised wheat, corn, cattle, and horses. The Tigua were also instrumental in building the Ysleta Mission . In essence, YDSP is the oldest community in the State of Texas as well as the oldest running government since its establishment in 1682. The Pueblo’s culture continues to flourish as each generation proudly promulgates its heritage."
"The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has the oldest reservation in the state located on approximately 10,200 acres in the Big Thicket of Deep East Texas. The Tribe is a fully functioning sovereign government with a full array of health and human services, including law enforcement and emergency services. There are more than 1,300 members, about half of whom live on the reservation. The Tribe is governed by an elected Tribal Council and advised by a Principal Chief,Herbert G. Johnson, Sr., Mikko Choba, Chief Skalaba, and Second Chief, Donnis B. Battise, Mikko Istimatokla, Chief Kanicu.
The tribes lived in adjacent areas in what is now the state of Alabama, By 1780, the tribes had migrated to modern-day East Texas. Although they were two separate tribes, the Alabamas and Coushattas have been closely associated throughout their history. Their cultures have some differences but for the most part are nearly identical."
"The Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas (KTTT), formerly known as the Texas Band of Traditional Kickapoo, is one of three federally recognized Tribes of Kickapoo people. The KTTT has a current population of 960 enrolled members and was officially recognized by the Texas Indian Commission in 1977. The KTTT Reservation is located by the Rio Grande on the US-Mexico border in western Maverick County. It is just south of Eagle Pass, Texas as part of the Rosita Valley community."