Native American Heritage Month is observed annually in November to recognize the histories, cultures, and traditions of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). There are currently 567 federally recognized tribes and more than 200 additional tribes throughout the United States. According to the US Census Bureau, 6.6 million Americans identify as American Indian or Alaska Native, including those who identify with more than one race. They made up about 2.0 percent of the total population in 2015.1
The AI/AN population is young. Forty-two percent of the AI/AN population is under age 25.2 Approximately 78 percent of AI/AN are identified living outside tribal areas.3 This means that programs outside of tribal communities are very likely serving AI/AN youth and should be prepared to meet the unique needs of this population.
The month-long celebration provides an opportunity to highlight the heritage of Native youth and to educate those who might not be as familiar with Native cultures in order to better understand and celebrate diverse cultures throughout the year.
FYSB’s Tribal PREP Program is responsive to tribal needs, traditions, and cultures while promoting proven and culturally appropriate methods for reducing adolescent pregnancy. A culturally based program results in a holistic approach that is key to the work of Tribal PREP grantees. They recently shared some of their strategies that could be replicated including:
During this month and throughout the year, think about ways that you can better reach and support Native youth. Additional ideas and resources for working with AI/AN communities and youth can be found at: