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Celebrate American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage!

American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children hurrying down the stairsThe first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. Red Fox James, a Blackfeet Indian, rode horseback from state to state, getting endorsements from 24 state governments, to have a day to honor American Indians.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 as "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations have been issued every year since 1994.

When the Framers gathered to write the United States Constitution, they drew inspiration from the Iroquois Confederacy, and in the centuries since, American Indians and Alaska Natives from hundreds of tribes have shaped our national life. During Native American Heritage Month, we honor their vibrant cultures and strengthen the government-to-government relationship between the United States and each tribal nation.

For more information, see the US Census Bureau's Facts for Features, American Indian & Alaska Native Heritage Month and the White House's Presidential Proclamation, National Native American Heritage Month, 2014.

Learn about CDC's Programs to address Tribal health.

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Strategies for Reducing Health Disparities

As we celebrate American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage month this year, CDC highlights The Strategies for Reducing Health Disparities — Selected CDC-Sponsored Interventions, United States, 2014 report, which offers real-world examples of how public health programs can address health disparities.

Examples in the report include how four American Indian/Alaska Native tribal communities implemented evidence-based road safety interventions to reduce motor vehicle-related injuries and death.

To view the report, see the following:

For More Information:

Mortality and Morbidity

Cancer and heart disease are the leading causes of death for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN).

In addition, a variety of health disparities affect AI/AN communities, including, disproportionately high prevalences of the following:

CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report (CHDIR)

The CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report - United States, 2013 (CHDIR) is important for encouraging action and facilitating accountability to reduce modifiable disparities by using interventions that are effective and scalable. The report also underscores the need for more consistent data on population characteristics that have often been lacking in health surveys such as disability status and sexual orientation.

For examples of some important health disparities affecting the American Indian /Alaska Native populations reported in the CHDIR, see the American Indian & Alaska Native Populations web page.

  • Page last reviewed: November 10, 2014
  • Page last updated: November 10, 2014
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