We mark a lot of different occasions here at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, but in this humble blog’s opinion, one stands above the rest- Native Heritage Month! Every November, BGCA’s Native Services team puts together some amazing resources. It’s a time of year to reflect on what indigenous heritage means and to share it with the community.
This year, Native Heritage Month has a special focus on connections. Native Clubs will be connecting with each other and their communities through cultural activities and sharing experiences on social media, culminating in a coordinated action of Native Heritage events at the end of the month. Clubs will be celebrating their unique customs, and reaffirming their connections to local communities. Each week, Clubs will be using the hashtag #NativeClubs across social media to highlight their culturally responsive programming, and to show the amazing things Native Clubs are doing across the country. I’ll be following!
Native Heritage Month is the perfect time for all Boys & Girls Clubs to learn more about our Native Clubs and the communities they serve. For example, did you know that BGCA is the nation’s largest youth service provider for Native Youth? We have nearly 200 Native Clubs that represent 100 different Tribal communities, serving over 90,000 Native youth! What does that look like? Here’s a map that shows the Tribes that Native Services serves (click for a printable version):
This month, as you are planning programming, consider how you can integrate culturally responsive activities and learning opportunities. Here are some ideas:
- Choose one of the Tribes represented on the map above and learn more about their culture and history. Find games, art projects, stories, and music or videos to share with your youth throughout all areas of the Club. Take special care to ensure that your programming doesn’t reinforce false stereotypes or inaccurate content.
- Looking for pen pals? A Native Club would be a great partner! You can find Club locations on NAClubs.org.
- Spend some time looking at the Native Services website. There, you can learn more about the team and find resources to support Native Heritage Month. All Boys & Girls Club staff can also see our programs adapted for Native youth on BGCA.net, including All Stars, Be There, DIY STEM, SMART Girls, and more.
- Follow #NativeClubs across all social media platforms to get ideas right from Native Clubs throughout the month of November!