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November is Native American Heritage Month, and a time to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for as we enjoy the harvest season during gatherings with family and friends. In Indian Country, culture and tradition are sustained through shared meals with family and the community.

This month is a time to celebrate our rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories, and to also acknowledge the important contributions that Native people have made to food and agriculture. This is also the perfect time to educate the general public about tribal histories and our proud food traditions.

Native American Heritage Month also recognizes the significant contributions the Native Americans have made as the first peoples of the lands that now constitute the United States.  The foods we all eat, the medicines and remedies we all use, the highways we all travel, our literature and arts, have all been recognized by U.S. leaders as integral to American life and all carry the indelible imprint of Native peoples.  Equally important during this month is acknowledging the countless American Indians who have served and currently serve in our Armed Forces.

The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative encourages our friends and supporters to celebrate Native American Heritage month by honoring the many Native American farmers, ranchers and food businesses that work every day during this harvest season to feed our people and our communities.  We also take this time to give special support to our next generation of Native leaders in food and agriculture whose picture we feature in our message today.  Feeding ourselves while feeding others is the important work ahead for these young Native leaders who we honor and acknowledge during this important month.