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Diversity and Inclusion

beaded baskets
These baskets are made by citizens of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe
in Akwesasne, near Massena. The baskets are made with
traditional materials obtained from the rivers and wetlands in the area,
including black ash from Brasher State Forest. The bark of black ash
trees is harvested according to a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement
with the Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment. Striped Gourd
or "Globe" basket by Benedict family (Mohawk), on loan from
the New York State Museum. Made of sweetgrass and black ash.

November is Native American Heritage Month, and during this month, we take the time to recognize the work that Indigenous peoples have done, and continue to do, to protect our shared environment. Over the past few years, our Indigenous neighbors have protected the Allegany River from pollution (leaves DEC website), installed solar panels to generate clean energy (leaves DEC website) at Onondaga, and removed a dam blocking fish migration (leaves DEC website) up the Saint Regis River.

During the month of November, DEC Central Office will be displaying materials on loan from the New York State Museum. Items include baskets made of black ash and sweet grass from Akwesasne, traditional and modern beadwork from Tuscarora, and arrowheads and other tools from archaeological sites in the Northern Montezuma Wildlife Management Area. These materials exemplify not just the relationship our Indigenous neighbors have with the environment, but also the cooperation that underpins the relationship between DEC and Indigenous people.

As we recognize Native American Heritage Month, we ask all of you to consider how your own actions may impact Native people and cultures. DEC also encourages you to learn more about how we can strengthen our relationship with nature and each other. You can find more information about Native American Heritage Month at

More about Diversity and Inclusion:

  • Native American Heritage Month - DEC observes Native American Heritage Month in November as a time to reflect on our relationships with our Indigenous friends and neighbors here in New York and beyond.
  • Black History Month - February is Black History Month. Meet some of the DEC staff who make an environmental difference.
  • Women's History Month - Women's History Month is celebrated each March. Get to know some of accomplished women at DEC.
  • Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month - In May, DEC celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Get to know several DEC employees who discuss their careers, heritage, and interests.
  • Pride Month Celebration - DEC celebrates Pride Month in June every year. DEC is proud to be a welcoming environment for all people.
  • Juneteenth Commemoration - New York celebrates Juneteenth as an official state holiday for the first time on June 19, 2021. Juneteenth (short for June 19th) commemorates African American freedom in our country. Its history goes back to June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that declared all enslaved people in Texas were free. While President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation a full two and a half years before the end of the war, it wasn't until the war's end that enslaved people in Texas knew they were free.
  • Hispanic Heritage Month - DEC is proud to observe Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 in honor of the history, culture, and influence of past and present generations of Hispanic New Yorkers.
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