Christmas Season in Native American Cultures

The holidays are here and communities of different cultures from around the world will be partaking in dozens of celebrations. Historically, indigenous people did not celebrate Christmas in the traditional sense. Yet, like other Americans of diverse cultures, many of today’s Native American families incorporate an array of Christmas celebrations and customs during this festive season.

Some Native Americans question the tradition of Thanksgiving, and others feel the Christian holidays have a checkered place in indigenous culture and instead enjoy their own celebrations this time of year. Many of us, however, appreciate the good spirit in the nature of Christmas and a lot of Native communities across the Northern Plains and Southwest participate in the holiday season.

In fact, approximately 110 reservation communities served by PWNA will receive gifts or meals this holiday season, brightening the holidays for nearly 30,000 Native American Elders, families and children. The programs in these communities offer nutrition support, health screenings, education services and more. As partners of PWNA, they’re able to enhance their services by distributing much-needed items provided to them by PWNA, such as food, blankets, toiletries and holiday stockings to help spread holiday cheer.

Winter weather can be cruel for many reservations and rural communities in general, but the holiday season is recognized as a time of coming together and giving, especially to those who need it most. Although not traditionally ours, after years of new tradition we’ve adopted the Christmas season as a time to join with our families and friends and share in our people and culture.

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