The number of people who identify as Native American or Alaska Native alone has grown by 27.1% to 3.7 million people over the last decade, according to the U.S. Census. That means the Native population is the largest it’s been in modern history. And that doesn’t even include the millions more people who identify as Native American or Alaska Native, in combination with another race.
All of that to say, the Native community is experiencing explosive growth, so it’s important that those with tribal affiliations have access to ways to embrace their indigenous heritage.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of four of the best ways to do just that. Take a look:
- Attend a Pow Wow
If you’ve never attended a pow wow, you’re missing out on a potentially life-changing experience. Though many in-person pow wows were put on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re starting to see a resurgence in live gatherings. Why should you attend a pow wow? Well, in short, they offer one of the best ways to connect with your ancestral heritage. Incredible round dances, delicious fry bread, the stunning Grand Entry, beautiful regalia, unforgettable drum circles, and real community are just a taste of what you might find at one of these sacred events. And if you’re too far away to attend a pow wow in person, Powwows.com has several virtual events you can check out too (check out their YouTube channel too, which features footage of the Gathering of Nations and other major pow wows and dance competitions).
- Stay Up to Date on Native News
Why should you read the news? Well, for one, it keeps you informed on the issues that matter to you. Staying apprised on essential information on people, places, and things of import can prompt you to become a more active, involved member of your community. The same principle applies to indigenous news. Knowing what’s going on in the “NDN” community has never been more important, because being informed allows you to help others become better informed too. If reading news about Native issues, such as the Keystone Pipeline or the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) Crisis, helps you become more aware, you can then spread that knowledge to those in your tribal community or social networks, raising the collective awareness of your friends and family members. Passing along your knowledge creates a more conscious, informed community, which is precisely what the news should seek to do in the first place.
If you’re looking for some excellent Native American news and lifestyle content, Powwows.com should be on your shortlist. The site provides an honest window into contemporary issues, examined through a Native American lens. The site has grown into a foundational news source for the NDN community, with articles and videos on everything from political news to health issues to pop culture to some of the best recommendations of Native art, music, film and other media. They know what matters to the Native community because they are the Native community.
- Explore Your Native Heritage
A lot of people born in the U.S. or Canada grew up hearing stories about an ancestor of theirs that was Native American. Of course, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction, and that’s why so many people with alleged Native American lineage have questions about their ancestral heritage. Some common ones include: Am I Native American? How Native American am I? What percentage of Native American do I have to be to enroll in a tribe? What is blood quantum?
Again, Powwows.com is an outstanding resource for helping people get answers to those questions. The site has a wealth of information on all such related topics that can help guide you toward tribal enrollment resources, ancestry kits, and so much more.
- Buy From Indigenous Companies
Native American-owned businesses are the lifeblood of the Native economy. And while many have good intentions of wanting to support Native businesses, sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between authentic Native businesses and those cashing in on Native-inspired products with mass-produced knockoffs.
Well, if you want to support NDN businesses but you’re not sure exactly where to start, the Powwows.com Shop Native directory brings some of the very best Native businesses out there right to you, in an easy-to-navigate format. Whether you’re seeking inspiration for gift ideas, or you want to treat yourself to some genuine turquoise jewelry or handmade clothing—chances are they’ll have just the vendor you’re looking for. After all, it’s important to invest in our Native businesses, any chance we can.