Native American Heritage Month in November is a time to mark the diverse cultures, histories and contributions of native people. Kevin Gover, the Smithsonian’s under secretary for museums and culture, and Angeline Boulley, author of the bestselling book, “'Firekeeper’s Daughter,” discuss their reflections and personal journeys.


“We (Native Americans) ... become rendered imaginary and almost bit players in the drama of the creation of America when in fact we were key players.” (Washington Post Live)
“To see a show like ‘Reservation Dogs’ and to have it be a commercial success it just shows that our stories are wonderful, real, they’re everything … That series would not have happened without native creative talent.” (Washington Post Live)
Angeline Boulley says, “I don’t believe there’s any place in sports or school, education, that justifies the use of Native American people and communities as a mascot.” Kevin Gover says, “The Kansas City football team, the Chicago hockey team, the Atlanta baseball team… continue to pretend that they are honoring Native Americans, but just watch one of those games and observe the conduct and ask yourself if you were native, would you be honored by what those fans are doing?” (Washington Post Live)

Angeline Boulley

Provided by representatives with Angeline Boulley.

Angeline Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is a storyteller who writes about her Ojibwe community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She is a former Director of the Office of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Angeline lives in southwest Michigan, but her home will always be on Sugar Island. Firekeeper’s Daughter is her debut novel.

Kevin Gover

Provided by the Smithsonian Institutuion.

Kevin Gover is the Under Secretary for Museums and Culture at the Smithsonian. He Under oversees the Institution’s history and art museums, Archives of American Art and the National Collections Program. He had served as director of the National Museum of the American Indian from 2007 until 2021.

A citizen of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Gover served as the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and its George Gustav Heye Center in New York City for 14 years. He also oversaw the Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Maryland.

Under his leadership, the National Museum of the American Indian opened numerous critically acclaimed exhibitions, including “Americans” (2018), which uncovers the many ways American Indian images and stereotypes have been part of the nation’s history, identity and popular culture. Last year, the National Native American Veterans Memorial opened on the grounds of the museum. This is the first national landmark in Washington to focus on the contributions of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians who have served in the military.

Gover received his bachelor’s degree in public and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and his juris doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law.