Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

The Florida Department of Education and Volunteer Florida encourages students to participate in Native American Heritage Month student contests with the theme “Highlighting Native American Heroes and Their Accomplishments.”

Native American Heritage Month is recognized and celebrated in the United States from November 1 to November 30.

“I am proud to celebrate the culture and heritage of Native Americans who enrich the value of our Nation,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Josie Tamayo. “During Native American Heritage Month, we honor the many contributions of Native American Floridians.”

“Native American Heritage Month serves as a great opportunity for Florida students to learn about the heroes of the Native American community and their accomplishments,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “These heroes have played an important role in our state, and we are proud to recognize them.”

All Florida students are invited to participate in academic and creative contests based on this year’s theme. Students in grades K-3 are invited to participate in an art contest, while students in grades 4-12 are invited to participate in an essay contest. Additionally, students, parents, teachers, and principals are invited to nominate full-time educators of all student grades for the Native American Heritage Month Excellence in Education Award.

About the Student Art Contest:

Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Native American Heritage Month Art Contest is open to all Kindergarten through third-grade students in Florida. Each student will submit original, two-dimensional artwork based on this year’s theme. Four statewide winners will be selected, and each winner will receive a $100 gift card for school supplies and a 1-year pass to Florida State Parks.

About the Student Essay Contest:

Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Native American Heritage Month Essay Contest is open to all students attending any Florida school in grades 4-12. Six winners will be selected: two elementary school students (grades 4-5), two middle school students (grades 6-8), and two high school students (grades 9-12). Each winner will receive a 2-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and a $100 gift card for school supplies. Contestants must be Florida residents, attend school in Florida in grades 4-12 (including public, charter, private, home or virtual) and able to provide a Social Security Number. Each student may enter only one essay, written in English, no longer than 500 words.

There are many examples throughout our state’s history of Native Americans and their accomplishments. Using your own words, share the story of a Native American who has had an impactful effect in Florida.

Some examples are:

  • Betty Mae Tiger Jumper – First woman elected as Chair of the Seminole Tribe of Florida
  • Florida’s Timucuan Pocahontas, Ulele
  • Osceola – An outspoken advocate for Seminole rights in the 1800s
  • Noah Billie – An acclaimed Seminole painter

About the Excellence in Education Award: 

Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Native American Heritage Month Excellence in Education Award Contest is open to all full-time educators in an elementary, middle, or high school in Florida. Four winners will be selected, and nominations may be submitted by a principal, teacher, parent/guardian, or student. Excellence in Education award winners will receive $2,500 from Volunteer Florida.

Contest Entries and Nominating Forms and Guidelines:  Student contest forms and educator nomination forms must be mailed to Volunteer Florida or submitted online at www.FloridaNativeAmericanHeritage.com.

Volunteer Florida 

Native American Heritage Month Committee 

1545 Raymond Diehl Road, Suite 250

Tallahassee, Florida 32308

All entries must be received by 5 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, November 9, 2023.