NPS Recognizes Native American Heritage Month
The Norwalk Board of Education is proud to recognize November as National Native American Heritage Month. National Native American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories of indigenous or First Nation people. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the unique challenges they have faced.
Early on, it was believed that the name Norwalk came from “north walk” – a day’s walk to the northern edge of the land purchased from the Native Americans. According to the Norwalk Historical Society, maps from the 17th Century show reference to the Marimakes, Indigenous People who lived in the area, and labeled the area as “Norwalke,” meaning “point of land.” At the time of English settlement, it is thought that there were between 200 and 300 Indigenous People living in the area.
On Feb. 26, 1640, Roger Ludlow entered into a treaty with Chief Mahackemo of the small Norwalk tribe of Siwanoy and purchased “all lands lying between the Saugatuck and Norwalk rivers, to the middle of said rivers, and from the sea, a day’s walk into the country.” In subsequent years, many Indigenous People became enslaved, indentured servants or were forced to move from the area.
Along with the City of Norwalk, Norwalk Public Schools encourages everyone to learn about the unique heritage, languages, and customs of local Native American tribes, and to reflect on ways in which we can integrate these practices into our lives in a meaningful and respectful way. Addressing historical injustices and promoting cultural preservation will build a more inclusive and harmonious community in Norwalk.
To learn more about the history of the Native American community in Norwalk and beyond, visit the exhibit “Norwalk’s Changing Communities: 13,000 B.C. to 1835” at the Norwalk Historical Society at Mill Hill. For more information, visit the Norwalk Historical Society website.
Since 1990, Congress has authorized an annual presidential proclamation that designates November as National American Indian Heritage Month to encourage all people to learn about the Indigenous peoples of the North American continent. Similar proclamations under various names, including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month,” have been issued each year since 1994.
By declaring this National Native American Heritage Month, the Board of Education encourages our community to learn about and honor the history and culture of Native Americans here in Norwalk and across the country, as well as Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.