Our American society and identity is inextricably linked with the ocean that has been fundamental to the development of our maritime country. Our society and identity are also the result of a rich amalgamation of cultures, ethnicities, and belief systems brought to our shores for thousands of years through both triumph and tragedy. We are a strong, vibrant nation and a strong, vibrant people because of the spirited mosaic of our communities. On this page, we celebrate the Heritage of the Blue and honor the diverse communities, cultures, and voices of our nation.
February: African American History Month
Authority: Public Law 99-244
African American History Month, formally established in 1986 to "observe that month with appropriate ceremonies and activities to salute all that Black Americans have done to help build our country," grew out of a week-long celebration first established by Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1926. Dr. Woodson, the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, chose February as the birthdays of Frederick Douglass (1817? to 1895) and Abraham Lincoln (1809 to 1865). We celebrate the month by recognizing the contributions and achievements of African Americans to our ocean, maritime traditions, and sanctuary communities.
- Story Map: African American History Month in National Marine Sanctuaries
- For I knew a ship From stem to stern
- The search for Planter
- A Search to Uncover a Slave Ship's Past Leads to a Writer's Spiritual Awakening
- Across Geography and Time: Kamau Sadiki Dives With a Purpose
- Historical Trail Blazers and Rising Stars in Marine Science
- Vince Leggett Tells of African American Ties to History, Culture, and Waterways of Chesapeake Bay Region
March: National Women's History Month
Authority: Public Law 103-22
National Women's History Month, as established in 1993 by Public Law 103-22, is intended to observe the month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities in recognition that "the role of American women in history has been consistently overlooked and undervalued." The observance has its roots in activism for women's right to vote. We celebrate the month by recognizing the contributions and achievements of women to our ocean, maritime traditions, and sanctuary communities.
- Unsung Ocean Heroes: Women's History Month in National Marine Sanctuaries 2019
- Pioneering Female Scientists
- Honoring women in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
- Follow your bliss – Jennifer Stock
- Hooked! – Kelley Drinnen
- Stories from the Blue: Emma Hickerson
- Stories from the Blue: Emily Aiken
- Stories from the Blue: Carol Bernthal
- Stories from the Blue: Hannah MacDonald
- My Ocean Hero: Brenda Lanzendorf
- Women in Ocean Careers Across the National Marine Sanctuary System
May: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month
Authority: Public Law 102-450
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month was established in 1992 under Public Law 102-450 to "recognize the history, concerns, contributions, and achievements of Asian and Pacific Americans." Growing out of older Asian Heritage Week observances, May was chosen because of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869 (Golden Spike Day), which was achieved by the significant contributions of Chinese immigrants. We celebrate the month by recognizing the contributions and achievements of Asian and Pacific Americans to our ocean, maritime traditions, and sanctuary communities.
- Celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in sanctuaries
- We need the ocean – Peter Taliva'a
- Stories from the Blue: Peter Taliva'a
- Stories from the Blue: Paula Stevenson McDonald
- Stories from the Blue: Uncle Sol
- Stories from the Blue: Kimokeo Kapahulehua
- Stories from the Blue: Hanohano Na‘ehu
- Stories from the Blue: Fautasi
- Pacific Islander/Asian American Heritage Month in National Marine Sanctuaries
- The Quest to Build Grace Quan
- Through the Eyes of a Scholar: Chinese American Contributions
June: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month
Authority: Proclamation 8387
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month came out of a Presidential Proclamation in 2009, calling upon "the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity." June was chosen in recognition of the Stonewall Riots in June 1969, which marked the beginning of the modern LGBT rights movement in the U.S. We celebrate the month by recognizing the contributions and achievements of our sanctuary communities in helping ensure equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
September: National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15)
Authority: Public Law 100-402
National Hispanic Heritage Month was established in 1988 by Public Law 100-402, which expanded the National Hispanic Heritage Week established in 1968 to a full month spanning mid-September to mid-October. The month honors the culture, heritage, and contributions of Hispanic Americans each year. Timing was chosen in honor of the formal signing of the Act of Independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua (September 15, 1821), and Mexico's Independence Day (September 16, 1810). We celebrate the month by recognizing the contributions and achievements of Hispanic Americans to our ocean, maritime traditions, and sanctuary communities.
- The Art of Playing Well: Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month in Sanctuaries
- Spanish translated materials
- Brijonnay Madrigal's Journey with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
- Ballena! Pescado! Santuario! Hispanic Communities Register High Interest in Marine Conservation and Access to the Ocean
October: National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Authority: Public Law 100-630
National Disability Employment Awareness Month was established in 1988 under Public Law 100-360, that expanded a week-long recognition dating from 1945 when Congress sought to support employment of disabled veterans. The declaration of the month is intended to increase public awareness of and support for those with disabilities. We celebrate the month by recognizing the efforts of our staff and partners to help ensure that ocean sports and recreation, and our facilities, programs, and information are available to all.
November: National American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month
Authority: Pub. L. 101-343
National American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month was established in 1990, expanding a week-long celebration begun in 1976. In 1976, Congress designated a week of October to celebrate Native American Awareness Week. The month recognizes hundreds of different tribes and approximately 250 languages. In November, we celebrate the history, tradition, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives and recognize the struggles and challenges they have faced. We celebrate the month by recognizing the contributions and achievements of Native Americans and Alaska Natives to our ocean, maritime traditions, and sanctuary communities.
- A shared sense of place
- Characterizing tribal cultural landscapes
- Native cultures and the Maritime Heritage Program
- Stories from the Blue: Quinault Indian Nation
- Dark water journey: The Chumash tomol crossing
- Elevating Chumash Values and Traditional Ecological Knowledge
- A Makah Tribal Leader Seeks Solutions to an Ocean Out of Balance