By Greg Tucker
November is National Native American Heritage Month, and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is honored to provide programming to and celebrate the contributions of the first Americans to our national service programs and initiatives.
Hundreds of projects, both on and off reservations, involving thousands of national service participants are providing services to Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians while also providing avenues for community members to participate in service. CNCS programs have longstanding partnerships with Native American communities — some spanning more than 45 years – that are designed to meet tribal and community needs.
- Among these projects is the Navajo Nation Foster Grandparent Programs, which is one of the original Foster Grandparent programs. This Senior Corps program serves hundreds of children in schools and at Head Start centers throughout the reservation by engaging tribal elders to provide educational, emotional and cultural support.
- Another education initiative is led by Bright Future AmeriCorps, which serves the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska to help give youth healthy alternative activities during the afternoon, evening and weekend hours through a variety of projects and programs.
- Children have also been the focus of Let’s Move in Indian Country, expanding the first lady’s exercise and nutrition initiative to tribal communities. With the support of Nike N7, AmeriCorps VISTA members help promote physical activity, nutrition, and healthy habits to combat the obesity epidemic among Native youth to put them on the path to more active and healthy lifestyles.
- California’s Hoopa Tribal Civilian Community Corps (Hoopa TCCC) has mobilized teams to join disaster response and recovery efforts – including Hurricane Sandy – giving these Native young people the chance to serve while gaining experience that can help them pursue future job opportunities.
- AmeriCorps members have joined Red Cross New Mexico to educate Tribal populations about disaster preparedness and building relationships in the community. The New Mexico team has met with 16 tribal leaders and formed resource lists for use in case of disaster.
CNCS’ partnerships and service with Native American communities are a pillar of strength for national service, and we encourage all Americans to join us in wrapping up this celebration on Native American Heritage Day on Friday, November 29. You can learn more about National Native American Heritage Month at the Library of Congress website.