As November ushers in Native American Heritage Month, even your virtual assistants are joining in the nationwide celebration of Indigenous culture.
A new Google Assistant feature lets users hear from first-hand interviews with members of Indigenous communities as they reflect on their cultural experiences. After waking up your Assistant, say “Tell me a human story” and your device will play the voices of people like Nanieezh, a girl sharing what it means to be Native American.
Users will also be able to access a collection of Native American Heritage facts via Google Assistant, focused on important cultural moments and leaders in Native American history. To hear your daily fact, users just need to say, “Happy Native American Heritage Month” or “Give me a fact about Native American Heritage.”
In addition, Google Chrome and ChromeOS unveiled new themes for users, designed by a cohort of five Native American artists.
“Hey, Google! Happy Native American Heritage Month.”
Blair Huffman, group product manager for ChromeOS and member of the Cherokee Nation, wrote in a Google blog post that the new themes showcases important traditions and highlights the artists’ unique experiences and identities.
“As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, I celebrate this month by taking time to reflect and express gratitude for my ancestors, the resilience of my tribe and other Indigenous people, and future generations carrying our tribal traditions forward,” Huffman wrote. “Richard D. York’s piece ‘ᎤᎧᏖᎾ (Uktena, or ‘Horned Serpent’)’ in particular brings me back to my childhood listening to the stories of Uktena and other tales from my elders. A more solemn work, ‘A Lot Meant,’ reminded me of growing up in Oklahoma and how historical policies like allotment impacted my family and so many others.”
Credit: Richard D. York / Google
Credit: Crystal Worl / Google
This month’s updates follow previous initiatives by Google and Google Assistant, including voice features that taught users important aspects of Black history and civil rights in honor of Juneteenth, as well as interactive personal health support in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Google launched its recognition of Native American Heritage Month on Nov. 1, with a Google Doodle celebrating Indigenous North American stickball. The ceremonial game has its history in several Native American communities, including the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole, and Yuchi tribes. The celebratory Doodle was created by artist Marlena Myles, a member of the Spirit Lake Dakota / Mohegan / Muscogee tribe. “This sport has played an active role through the generations in our many tribes and it will continue to do so,” Myles wrote. “We’re keeping traditions alive.”
Just ask Google: “Tell me a human story.”
The new features allow all users to engage with the stories, art, and history of our country’s Indigenous communities, so use your Google devices as a starting point for a deeper exploration of this vast and varied heritage. All it takes to begin is a simple “Hey, Google…”