Ashleigh Smith + photo

Ashleigh Smith

Oct 31
5 min read
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Bears Ears Native American Ruins

Native American Heritage Month and Giving Tuesday

November is a big month for holiday celebrations, shopping, harvesting, and much more. As you celebrate, in whatever fashion suits you, we invite you to include Native American Heritage Month (American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month) and Giving Tuesday in your lineup. You may be wondering, how can I celebrate Native American Heritage if I’m not a native? And what is Giving Tuesday all about?

Native American Heritage Month text with a woven rug design behind it

First, anybody can participate in celebrating Native American Heritage Month by learning more about the legacy and wisdom that has been left by those of the native tribes and villages within this country, including some sound advice about food cultivation. The native people of the Americas have been known for their care and stewardship over the land. This year True Leaf Market has reached out to the Utah Dine Bikeyah organization to join in celebration and appreciation by partnering for this year's Giving Tuesday efforts. Native American heritage is about more than Native traditions, it is about who we are as people, cultures, and stewards of this earth. Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to unite from anywhere around the world. It is a global generosity movement. Since 2012 it has been celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. This year it falls on the 29th of November.

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Join us in the spirit of giving by finding a variety of ways to share your generosity. Serve the people around you. Be kind when you feel inclined to be course. Help a worthy cause. We, the True Leaf Family, feel it is important to honor the native traditions of preserving natural flora and fauna when possible. To aid our local Native American tribes who share these same values, True Leaf Market will be donating a large assortment of seeds and a portion of gift-guide purchases made between November 22nd - 29th to Utah Dine Bikeyah.

We would love to see how you celebrate Native American Heritage Month and Givinig Tuesday! Share your experiences with the following hashtags: #givingtuesday #standwithbearsears #protectbearsears #restorebearsears and #utahdinebikeyah.

Who are Utah Dine Bikeyah?

Utah Dine Bikeyah (UDB) is a “nonprofit organization dedicated to the healing of people and the Earth through supporting Indigenous communities and protecting their culturally significant, ancestral lands.” Their roots started as efforts to protect the sacred lands which are known as the Bears Ears Monument. Because this particular portion of land remains outside of reservation boundaries, it is subject to U.S. government regulations, such as being designated a national monument.

While dedicating such a beautiful piece of land as a national monument has its upside, like helping people to become aware of its history and significance, its use and management become subject to government decisions. Unfortunately, this means these lands that are sacred to a number of Native American tribes have seen notable damages in the form of looting, grave robbing, and vandalism with the increase in visitors to the area. Because of the legal pathway taken to create the Bears Ears National Monument happened through the Antiquities Act, local native leadership is limited in its influence of how the land is managed for recreational use. Currently, the best way to actively protect these sacred and preserved lands from vandalism and damage is through local organizations such as UDB. For more information about Utah Dine Bikeyah and its mission, check out their about us page.

Shiprock New Mexico

Native American Heritage and Food Cultivation

As mentioned above, Native Americans have been known for their ability to live off of the land and cleverly produce food in sustainable and practical ways. One of their clever tricks of the trade includes growing the three sisters: squash, corn, and beans. Planting these vegetables together allows the needs of each plant to be met through a mutualistic relationship. Native bean varieties naturally require support for healthy growth and development. In this trio, the corn becomes a natural post for the beans to climb, achieving better air circulation to prevent disease, reach more sunlight, and develop better fruiting structures. In return, the beans help transfer nitrogen from the air into the soil for the corn and squash to use. The squash helps by acting as a ground cover to protect the soil from erosion and reduces competition with other plants.

In addition to the three sisters, sunflowers are sometimes referred to as the fourth sister. Sunflowers are one of the most resilient, drought-tolerant, and abundant native flowers around. Their bright shining petals attract pollinators such as bees to the growing area, thus improving pollination and fruit development. Give this combination of plants a try in your next garden to witness first-hand how well plants can work together for greater success.

Now that's a lesson anyone could benefit from learning over and over again! We all need each other. Like the four sisters who can work together for better growth, the diverse cultures found throughout the United States and around the world provide opportunities and the capabilities to lift each other up in times of need. There is good to be found everywhere. We encourage you to be extra mindful of those around you during this season of gratitude and giving. We promise you won’t regret taking the opportunity to serve others in meaningful ways.

The Three Sisters Seed Selection

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Anastasia Tricoli

Thank you for celebrating and working with a Native run organization for Native American History Month. As a native it means so much to me to see you do that! Thank you!

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