Category Archives: Holidays

Natives Make Christmas Their Own

With the spread of Christianity among some Native Americans in the early 20th century came certain Christmas rituals — trees and presents and jolly old Santa Claus — that were folded into traditional wintertime celebrations…. Some Native Americans put a special spin on Christmas, incorporating traditions and tales that date back ages.” L. Weeks, NPR-12/13/2015

Native American Dances of Pojoaque Pueblo are beautiful and spiritual to watch. They are ceremonial in nature, expressing ancient traditions and connections to the earth. Santa Fe Pueblo

Native American Dances of Pojoaque Pueblo are beautiful and spiritual to watch. They are ceremonial in nature, expressing ancient traditions and connections to the earth. Santa Fe Pueblo

Excerpt: A Very Native American Christmas, Linton Weeks, NPR (12/20150

“The Yale Expositor of St. Clair County, Mich., reported on December 18, 1913 that for certain Sioux dwelling in South Dakota, Christmas and its accoutrements came through government-run schools. In each village, the Sioux collected funds for a feast. One member dressed up as Kris Kringle and made speeches and handed out presents. Native American children, the newspaper noted, were quick to show interest in the Christmas tree.

A Native American family gathers around a Christmas tree in Montana, ca. 1900-1920. Library of Congress

A Native American family gathers around a Christmas tree in Montana, ca. 1900-1920. Library of Congress

The Salish passed down a Christmas story of a great and good man who came among their forefathers and performed miracles of all kinds, and on leaving them said he would return in the form of a large white coyote, They say he has appeared at different times, but has not been seen now for more than 150 years.

Traditional dancing at Christmas NM Pueblos

Traditional dancing at Christmas NM Pueblos

In San Felipe Pueblo, N.M., the 1913 Expositor account pointed out, the holiday celebration among Native Americans living there was a curious mixture of Christian and [Native] customs. Members went to the old mission church in the morning, held a feast at midday and then began a fantastic and ceremonial dance that continues for half a week.

Today, explains Deborah A. Jojola, Curator of Exhibitions at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque – which represents the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico — most of the Pueblo Nations within New Mexico have seasonal cycles for ceremonies and celebrations…On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many of the Pueblos host special masses and dances. The Jemez Pueblo, for example, celebrates with Buffalo Dances on Christmas Eve and early morning on Christmas Day.

A buffalo dancer

A buffalo dancer

The Buffalo Dancers – make their way down from the nearby mesas into the Pueblo bringing the Spirit of Prayer, Song and Dance… In Isleta Pueblo, there is a winter dance held in the St. Augustine Church after the Christmas Eve mass. Many of the festivities are for all ages.

Luminarias @ Jemez Pueblo Mission

Luminarias @ Jemez Pueblo Mission

In virtually all ceremonies, Pueblo children are integral participants. Indian parents rarely, if ever, need a babysitter for traditional ceremonial preparations or actual events.”

Learn more about the Native Pueblos Here



card used for 2015American Indian Artwork

Category: Holidays

Native Veterans Honor Their Culture and Fallen Comrades

“There are few things more pride inspiring than our native brothers and sisters reclaiming our love of country. These veterans danced their way around the circle in uniform at the Lame Deer Powwow in 2018.” C. Oestreich, Pow Wows

 Click Here to see the Warriors Dance



Manataka American Indian Council

Category: Culture, Holidays, Military

Native Humor: Native Christmas Memes

“We all love the internet cannon fodder known as memes. Those sarcastic, funny, one-panel comic photos that people make and share on social media. Some are pretty famous even…here are a few Native-style, we found some, we made some.” V. Schilling, ICT

V. Schilling-ICT

Excerpt: Native Christmas memes and comics to get you into the holiday mood By Vincent Schilling, ICT

“In order to get you into the holiday spirit, albeit a bit spiced with a bit of sarcasm, here a a collection pf Native-themed Christmas memes or one panel comics we found or were made.

Meme V. Schilling: J. Anderson

If we have the photographer’s name we will include it, otherwise we found the meme in the annals of the internet. Enjoy! And happy holidays!”

V. Schilling ICT


Category: Holidays

Native New Year Wishes for 2018

From  Talking Feather To All of Our Readers:

Wishing Everyone A Very Happy and Blessed New Year!

Category: Holidays | Tags:

Natives Celebrate the Winter Solstice for the New Year

“The start of the New Year is honored by many Native Americans, although many tribes have selected different dates as the last day of the year. In North American Indigenous cultures, the New Year is at the end of January or first part of February, based on constellations and moon phases. The timing of the New Year is usually in conjunction with Winter Solstice commemorations.” 12/30/16

Winter Soltice celebration-Lakota Sioux. image warpaths2peacepipes


Excerpt: Native American New Year Commemorations

“Native Americans of the North, Central, and South Americas have a fire ceremony to bring in the New Year. Some of the Native American traditional New Year observances include annual planting festivals, like that of the Hopi and Iroquois. In the Northwest, some Native American tribes celebrate New Year earlier than the rest of the western world.

For instance, the Umatilla tribes of eastern Oregon hold their ceremony just before the Winter Solstice on December 20. The people of the Hopi pueblos observe nine major religious ceremonies throughout the year that symbolize the changing of the seasons and the nature of the Hopi sacred universe. The Hopi believed that on the Summer Solstice, when the days are the longest, that the Sun God is closest to Earth.

The Iroquois Midwinter Ceremony, called the “Haudeshaune,” is in either January or February depending on the moon cycle.  When the new moon appears the spiritual year begins.

Image of Iroquois Midwinter Ceremony.

Again, many Indian tribes celebrate the New Year as part of their great Winter Solstice ceremonies. According to one First Nation spiritual leader from Canada, Blue Eagle, this is also the time of the Winter Solstice and for those who do not celebrate Christmas.

Aztec calendar.

Today, many Native American tribes celebrate the New Year with Pow Wows. In Mexico last year, Aztecas, Mayans and Huichols, on behalf of the United Nations, celebrated the New Year dawn by dancing humanity back into the ancient earth-honoring way of being.”


Category: Holidays

Natives giving “Thanks” on Thanksgiving…Maybe

“All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey… actually the foliage is awash with color but it is time for the annoying trilogy of holidaze that vex us as Natives. Ah yes, ‘tis the season of Columbus Day, Halloween and the American Thanksgiving. This trifecta of annoying events makes me SMH in befuddlement at the ignorance, crass behavior and borderline bigotry of those that continue the misanthropic adherence to the myths, rituals and customs of these celebrations.” A. Cramblit, ICTMN

Excerpt: Holiday Head Scratchers for Natives  By Andre Cramblit ICTMN

“Thanksgiving is full of romanticized notions of two peoples coming together to share in the bounty of the harvest. Sitting around a ravaged turkey carcass singing kum ba yah was definitely not the origins of this seasonal football

Massachusetts Bay Colonial Governor William Winthrop proclaimed the first official Day of Thanksgiving in 1637. The reason for this celebration? The festivities were held to mark the recent success of the Pequot massacre. Apparently the Gov’nah felt the need to commemorate the slaughter of nearly 700 men, women and children. Serve that with a slice of pumpkin pie, (I like extra dream whip on my piece).


This is indeed as good a time as any to show gratitude for having lived another year and that hopefully you are surrounded by loved ones and are in good health… As you pass through each day, give thanks to your ancestors for their courage and perseverance; know that wherever you are the soil under your feet is the land of some Tribe and is sacred, and remember that you are a role model. Save the drumstick for me please.


“As Native people we are encouraged to be thankful, to be mindful of the good in the world… Give thanks to Creation for giving us the food and natural environment we need to sustain ourselves.”  ~ Andre Cramblit~  A Karuk Tribal Member from the Klamath and Salmon rivers in northwest California

Category: Holidays