The Council joyfully recognizes Native American Heritage Month this November, using this time to explore and celebrate the heritage, culture, and experiences of Indigenous peoples both historically and in American life today. Though we proudly advocate for Native American business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the year, we believe it is equally important to pay tribute to the sacrifices and achievements they continue to make toward our mission of diversity and inclusion.
The more than five billion Native Americans in the United States belong to 574 federally recognized tribes across our country. Celebrating Native American Heritage does not mean celebrating one culture, but rather recognizing and honoring the many diverse native nations and each of their unique defining histories. It is a time to celebrate the traditions, languages, and stories of Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Island communities and ensure their rich histories and contributions continue to thrive with each passing generation. And, in order to guarantee that every community has the future they deserve, November serves as a time for us as a nation to reassess our commitment to upholding the significant alliances we have with tribal nations and renew our dedication to these ties.
Further, we would be remiss to overlook the significant contributions of Native Americans to our nation and economy. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, Native American-owned businesses contribute more than $33 billion to the U.S. economy every year and employ more than 200,000 people. Native American entrepreneurs founded international restaurant chains, profitable casinos, successful financing companies, and indigenous art stores across the country. Additionally, there are tens of thousands of Native American solopreneurs who significantly impact our nation’s financial health and move our economy forward. Native American businesses had an estimated buying power of $140 billion in 2020, a number that is set to continue to grow.
This month, we ask you to take a conscious effort in supporting Native American entrepreneurs and to think deeply about the pivotal role they play in the American economy. If you haven’t yet, this is the perfect time to diversify your supply chains and connect with our Council-certified Native American MBEs. We invite you all to support, celebrate, and honor the Native American teachers, leaders, scientists, activists, and public figures this November.