November 1 marks the beginning of Native American Heritage Month, and Google has joined the celebration. Through art showcased on Google Doodle and Google homepage themes, the company is paying homage to Native American traditions.
A recent Doodle on Google’s homepage created by Indigenous artist Marlene Myles depicted the history of Stickball, a traditional sport created by Indigenous tribes. Several Native American tribes including the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole and Yuchi were known to play the game.
The game is played by using sticks to move and pass a ball towards the opposite team’s post. Points are scored by touching or hitting said post with the most important rule being to never touch the ball with your hands.
“I was very excited to create something fun, meaningful and that can teach many people about an ancient sport of Native people which is still practiced today in both the traditional version using traditional sticks and the adapted version known to many as Lacrosse,” said Myles.
Now available on the Chrome browser and Chrome OS is a collection of themes created by five Native Americans Google commissioned for the artwork. The collection showcases important traditions for the Native American community. For example, Uktena, or Horned Serpent, is a malevolent dragon depicted in Cherokee stories.
Blair Huffman, Google Group Product Manager and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, said the collection themes had a special significance for her.
“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,” said Huffman.
To apply the themes to your Chrome browser, all you have to do is visit the Chrome Web Store collection, select a theme and click “Add to Chrome,” or open a new tab in Chrome and click on “Customize Chrome” icon on the bottom right hand corner.
Meanwhile, Google is also helping to answer questions about Native American Heritage Month. All you have to do is ask your Google Assistant to give you a fact about the month or say “Happy Native American Heritage Month” to hear historical facts or stories about the Native American community.