Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Through the years, we’ve recognized several Communicators of the Month from the Native American community whose voices paved our way in advancing social change and equity in our country.

In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, we wanted to honor a few of these individuals again and recognize the contributions and influence they had on our history, culture, achievements and future opportunities.

Here are some of the remarkable advocates we have featured in our calendar over the years (listed in alphabetical order).

JACKSON K. BUSSELL — REVERED RINGLEADER

Jackson “Action” Bussell was a Native American professional boxer whose love for his sport was only rivaled by his passion for education. He was a four-time Golden Glove champion, winning this honor twice in Oregon and twice in Washington. He also was a two-time Native National Champion and a gold medalist in the Native American Indigenous Games. Learn how Jackson K. Bussell promoted the benefits of obtaining an education outside of the ring.

RAYMOND JOE — NAVAJO HEALTH HERO

You can say that Navajo nurse and combat veteran Raymond Joe spent his career on the front lines: first in defending his country, and second in healing his community. As a nurse in the Navajo Nation in New Mexico during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was one of the first health care professionals serving this population to draw attention to the disparities and lack of support in their hospitals, effectively declaring these spaces “war zones.” Learn more about Raymond Joe’s contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original artwork depicting Navajo Health Hero Raymond Joe. He is shown in profile wearing a mask.

MARY G. ROSS — NATIVE NAVIGATOR

Mary Ross

Mary G. Ross was the first Native American female engineer. She became a strong advocate for engineering and mathematics opportunities for both women and Native Americans. She also helped expand the educational programs of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Council of Energy Resource Tribes. Learn more about Mary G. Ross’ life and legacy.

ZITKALA-ŠA “RED BIRD” — DISCRIMINATION DEFIER

Zitkala-Ša (“Red Bird”) was born on the Yankton Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 1876 to a South Dakota Sioux mother and white father of French descent. Throughout her life, Zitkala-Ša had to navigate the two worlds of her Native American heritage and the white-dominant society where she studied, worked and published her writing and music. Today she is remembered for how she honored her culture while advocating for Indigenous people to become voting American citizens. Learn more about the life and legacy of Zitkala-Ša “Red Bird.”

Original artwork depicting Zitkala Sa "Red Bird"

JAMES WELCH ― NATIVE NARRATOR

As the founding author of the Native American Renaissance, James Welch’s work explores the Native American search for identity. In his poetry, Welch also helps non-Native readers better understand Native American culture and experience. Learn more about how James Welch’s poetries helped share Native American culture throughout the world.