About Native American Heritage Month - Video Native Dancer

Information courtesy of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the "First Americans" and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.

The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including "Native American Heritage Month" and "National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month") have been issued each year since 1994.

Photo Bristol Eastwood
VIDEO Native American Dancer

Responses to "November - National American Indian Heritage Month"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow This was so beautiful to watch i wish i could have ubderstood the power of the words to this dance'

  2. Anonymous says:

    Its about time they were given something.....

  3. Unknown says:

    Where can I get a beautiful poster? Online? Certain site?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am a Proud and Strong Native Woman!!

  5. Watching this video I get goose bumps on my skin. It is impressing to see such a traditional dance but my feelings are a bit diverse, too. On one hand I feel included and addressed by the dancer as a watcher. On the other hand I also feel excluded because I have read so many negative comments written by Native Americans. They do not want the Whites be part of their ceremonies because of all these bad things which happened in the past. I can understand this thinking. I am open to many traditions and I want to understand and learn from all the different cultures and teachings. This really doesn't mean that I want to take something away from those people. I hope and wish that the old traditions will survive and get passed on from generation to generation.

  6. sue taylor says:

    this was just beautiful to watch,i have seen the hopi dancing at the grand was very emotional,knowing all the bad things that happened to the indian.if more people were like them,it would be a better world.

  7. Sandra Kingbird says:

    Beautiful...just wish it could have been filmed outdoors, Native Americans don't belong in cement settings....And, we feel everyday is Native American Indian Day don't need no one to tell us that it is.

  8. So many Pow Wow"s starting now. It is good. Many Blessings and Thank you for Sharing.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Recently I had a once in a lifetime Yoho (Wow! in Cree) moment.

    I’d been invited by two native ‘teachers’ (one of Cherokee descent and the other of Ojibwe) to a traditional naming ceremony in recognition of my book. Being non-native, I was quite honoured. The 'teachers' conducting the ceremony told how they’d both felt a strong connection to my book.

    The naming ceremony included smudging, pipe smoking, traditional story telling, rituals, drumming and singing. Outside a ‘fire-keeper’ was keeping a fire into which we later threw tobacco as an offering to the spirits. They really personalized the ceremony that lasted 3-1/2 hours. Afterwards they had prepared a buffet table with lots of goodies.

    The two teachers, who conducted the ceremony, were dressed in traditional native clothing and took the time to explain to the non-natives in attendance the meaning behind the different aspects of the ceremony. My wife was given a protective red shawl to wear and was seated by one of the teachers. I was given a medicine bag and a bear claw carving (made of antler) and seated beside the other teacher. There was also a young native girl there from the white crane clan, which heads the family of birds to which I now belong.

    It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life to date. In many ways it felt as though my book had come alive. I felt so honoured.

    A native name guides & protects you and you must constantly live up to it. Those who gave it can also take it away. This way, it’s a life long challenge. I like that.

    Thank you for sharing such an amazing culture.

    Tom author of The Red Wing Sings
    aka O-ka-reeeee (the phonetic spelling of what the Red Wing Sings)

  10. Anonymous says:

    I feel that the white man has had possession of American Indian Territories for long enough, this native American Indian dance should have been done in more honourable surroundings not concrete buildings and floors. Respect to all of you for sharing this powerful dance, peace be with you, always.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I could go on and on about how this country's FIRST people were here. I admire the Native American people who overcame horrific times, and a country that turned it's back on them. I respect them and their beliefs. So many of their beliefs I too, beleive.

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