Native American Heritage Month got its start as a one-day “American Indian Day” celebration in New York in May 1916, and in 1975, President Gerald Ford turned it into a week-long “Native American Awareness Week” in October. While the dates shifted from year to year, in 1990 Congress officially passed a joint resolution declaring the entire month of November “National Native American Indian Heritage Month.” 

The name
has since changed to National Native American Heritage Month.  This month you are encouraged to reflect on different ways to build or create awareness. I also want to share a few reflections. 
I recently participated in a new “Leading Diversity” executive education program offered by Melissa Thomas-Hunt, Ph.D.,, Laura Morgan Roberts, Ph.D., and Allison Elias, Ph.D. at the University of Virginia's Darden Business School (which I highly recommend for those of us who work with or in DEI lead roles across our various institutions).  As a part of the program, we had the opportunity to reflect on our roles in the DEI space while visiting the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.  During this visit, which always brings a flood of both insights and emotions regarding my personal history as an African American, I also reflected on the parts of my heritage that are a part of my Native American/Indigenous heritage.  In the museum space, there was a particularly poignant quote that read “Place Matters. Place is about geography – but also about memory and imagination. People make places even as places change people. Places are secured by individual and collective struggle and spirit.  Place is where culture is made, where traditions and histories are kept and lost. Where identities  are created, tested, and reshaped over time.”
This quote re-emphasized for me the importance of recognizing lost histories and traditions, as well as collective struggles across identity groups- it's about understanding our place, in society, in cultures, and in humanity.

As far as Native American heritage is concerned, we need to recognize the importance of Native American culture and traditions, both present and past, that have impacted the U.S. as well as other countries abroad.  In terms of the workplace, between 2013 and 2019, American Indian and Alaska Native employees have experienced 2x less growth than all other ethnic minority groups. As a result, many Indigenous employees do not feel a strong sense of belonging in the workplace.  We know that research supports that employees experience a greater sense of inclusion and belonging with an increase in managerial level. As employees gain more responsibility and status, they feel more accepted.  However, this is true for every minority group, except AIAN or Indigenous peoples employees. In fact, a sense of belonging decreases for Native American and Alaska Native employees as they move up in the organization. What’s more, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the lowest levels of belonging at each level. The sad fact is that few Indigenous peoples who reach the executive level do not feel seen or valued by their workplaces.  There are also few studies that explore the careers of Native Americans, and the unique challenges that are faced in living and working in various locations and states across the U.S.


UK and Ireland – Majority of senior leaders say their employer’s approach to DE&I impacts their plans to stay in role, SIA

Senior leaders across the UK and Ireland report their frustration with the slow pace and limited scope of change in DEI progress. 86% of the 2,000 leaders sampled say their company's DEI strategy influences their choice to stay or leave their position. Although 68% of leaders from underrepresented backgrounds view their organization as having made some DEI progress, almost half (46%) currently feel marginalized at work.

 To Sustain DEI Momentum, Companies Must Invest in 3 Areas, HBR

The authors analyzed aggregated data from 48 clients' self-reports and found that while organizational DEI progress is occurring, certain accountability metrics are lacking. Sixty percent report having a DEI strategy; however, for representational goals, only 26% track gender and 16% track race. The authors view such metrics as essential for actualizing DEI goals. They also highly recommend accounting for C-suite executives' DEI progress, but found that just 28% have instated accountability measures. While 88-90% of companies collect gender, race, and ethnicity data, less than half utilize such demographic data to analyze differences in attrition, promotion, hiring, and career progression rates. Other findings include that 12% of DEI leaders have a dedicated team and 9% of organizations put DEI leaders at the same level as other executives. 

Video Resources

What to Watch: Native American Heritage Month PBS

6 Stories Celebrating Native American History and Culture Great Big Story

A Conversation With Native Americans on Race The New York Times

Upcoming D&I Related Dates

View this email in your browser
Connect with Us on LinkedIn
Connect with Us on LinkedIn
Follow Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Twitter
Like Us on Facebook
Like Us on Facebook
Copyright © 2022 Exponential Talent LLC, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp