November is Native American Heritage Month

Chris Searles/BioIntegrity
5 min readNov 7, 2021

Why is that especially important to you?

I got to work with Vance Blackfox this summer and Fall. We started out talking about how difficult it can be to understand the Native American identity. That led to a long session, Vance is brilliant: listen here.

One of the things Vance said at that time led to the collection posted here (below); that the annihilation and relocation of Native American peoples during colonization didn’t just tragically and traumatically affect their personal lives — it destroyed long held practices in specific places, with specific creatures. . . Relationships.

“Living in relationship” is a fundamental of the reality we share, living in Biosphere Earth. We are dependent on Earth’s mosaics of other life.

I hope you’ll spend some time with the content below. Vance Blackfox assembled and guest edited it for BioIntegrity’s project Read Vance’s introduction here. It has something contemporary and timeless for everyone and it contains numerous lessons and essentials critical to our advancement into a healthier, more joyful, more connected, and realistic society.

Here are highlights and links. (Read the email version.)

New Content

Invest in Right Relationship
Interview with Janene Yazzie

“Where do the stars know your name?” … Janene Yazzie, a Diné Asa Navajo woman, is a leader in the International Indian Treaty Council and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Listen to interview.

The Deer Woman and
A Collective Return to Equality
Article by Isabell Retamoza

“Our creation stories call us to — Equality across identities. Equality across all life.” … Isabell Retamoza (Cherokee) is the inaugural recipient of the David Kadish Scholarship for the Humanities. Read article.

Discussing Sacred Relationship
Interview with Vance Blackfox

“We weren’t worshiping the tree, or the land — we were giving thanks.” … Vance Blackfox is creating opportunities for healing and relationship today in numerous ways, including as Desk Director for American Indian Alaska Native Tribal Nations for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), as founder/director of Other+Wise, and as guest editor for this collection on Listen to interview.

Love on the Land
Keynote article by Kim Smith

“I hope that my siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews will move home, too.” … Kim Smith hails from the Diné Nation, is founder/editor at large for Indigenous Goddess Gang (magazine), a leading contributor to the UN’s work on climate justice, and more. Read article.

I Am the River
Article, Photos, Audio by Amber Morning Star Byars

“All the best teachers exist in the natural realm.” … Amber Morning Star Byars is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and a descendant of the Chickasaw Nation. She has a BA in Indigenous Liberal Studies, an AFA in Studio Art, and will graduate with a law degree in 2022. Read/listen to article.

Sargassum is Sacred
Article by Vance Blackfox

“Our relatives are indeed sacred beings with wisdom in their own DNA.” … Vance Blackfox is guest editor of this collection from Read article.


“Native Reads is a bookshop of Native authors, listed by genre, for both young and older to read and enjoy. In both our fiction and non-fiction writing, just like in our lives and lifeways as Native people, there is always an element of honoring our children, elders, and non-human relatives. Read almost any of these beautiful books and you’ll find the author has taken us to that sacred place at some point in the story, because that in fact is our story innately as Indigenous people.” (Vance Blackfox) Visit store. Learn more.

To see the full collection, click here.

Learn more about Native American Heritage Month:


There are so many reasons Native American Heritage Month is important. For starters, it’s an invitation to learn about Native American identities on their terms and to help achieve sovereignty, basic rights, and opportunities for Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples everywhere.

To me, and in light of the “Value of Biosphere Earth” series, this recognition also offers the opportunity to switch our mainframe from focusing on media to focusing on a vast diversity of beautiful cultures who, broadly-speaking, understand themselves to be “members” of a miraculous, benevolent, living system.

I see only good reasons for adopting that worldview.