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SPOKANE, WA – Monday marks the start of Native American Heritage Month, a time when we can celebrate different cultures, traditions and histories while recognizing the significant contributions of Indigenous peoples.

On Friday, members of the American Indian Community Center were at the Ruby River Hotel to educate Spokane residents and get them to join in their mission.

Millions of natives live in the United States, more than 140,000 right here in Washington. However, indigenous people have long been neglected and experience many health, educational and economic disparities compared to the general population.

“People are lining up everywhere trying to get in here,” said Jamie Sijohn, vice chairman of the American Indian Community Center’s board of directors.

To put it mildly, people from all over Spokane flocked to the Ruby River Hotel for the American Indian Community Center’s Trunk or Treat event.

It even caused backups to the division!

“For a candy-free lunch, they get a beanie, and more importantly, we expose a lot of new people at the American Indian Community Center,” she said.

Those who stop there also learn about the services that this center offers to people in need.

“Whether it’s food, employment or training – a new outfit to wear to a job interview,” she said.

With Native American Heritage Month just days away, Sijohn said it’s important to use this month to share different cultures and show people how they can support this community.

“By doing this, we are preserving our culture, our heritage, our ways of life for the next generation,” she said.

“As long as we can connect with cultures that are still in our area, they stay alive,” said Gillian Charbonnea, a visitor.

So what are some ways you can help? The American Indian Community Center hosts several events throughout November, including an open house on November 5.

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