As the first people to live on the land we all cherish, American Indians and Alaska Natives have profoundly shaped our country's character and our cultural heritage. Today, Native Americans are leaders in every aspect of our society -- from the classroom, to the boardroom, to the battlefield. This month, we celebrate and honor the many ways American Indians and Alaska Natives have enriched our Nation, and we renew our commitment to respecting each tribe's identity while ensuring equal opportunity to pursue the American dream.

In paying tribute to Native American achievements, we must also acknowledge the parts of our shared history that have been marred by violence and tragic mistreatment. For centuries, Native Americans faced cruelty, injustice, and broken promises. As we work together to forge a brighter future, we cannot shy away from the difficult aspects of our past. That is why, in 2009, I signed a bipartisan resolution that finally recognized the sad and painful chapters in our shared history. My Administration remains dedicated to writing a new chapter in that history by strengthening our government-to-government relationship with tribal nations while enhancing tribal sovereignty and tribal self-determination.

Because we know that the best ideas for tribal nations come from within, my Administration has continued to engage tribal leaders in developing an agenda that respects their expertise on matters affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives. In collaboration with tribal nations, we are making critical investments to improve health and education services, create jobs, and strengthen tribal economies. In July, I was proud to sign the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act into law, which will enhance tribal control over the leasing of Indian lands. Last December, I signed an Executive Order to expand educational opportunities for Native American students. It aims to preserve Native languages, cultures, and histories while offering a competitive education that prepares young people to succeed in college and careers. And under the Tribal Law and Order Act and the Safe Indian Communities initiative, we are continuing to work with tribes to build safer communities. My Administration also supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Many longstanding Native American legal claims against the United States have been resolved, which will help accelerate the restoration of trust in our relationships with tribal nations. The settlements that came out of these claims -- including the historic Cobell and Keepseagle settlements, as well as more than 50 settlements in cases alleging Federal mismanagement of tribal trust funds and resources -- will put an end to decades of litigation and help drive economic development in tribal communities in the years to come.

In partnership with tribal nations, my Administration has addressed injustices and built new avenues of opportunity for American Indians and Alaska Natives. As we celebrate National Native American Heritage Month, let us move forward in the spirit of mutual understanding and mutual trust, confident that our challenges can be met and that our shared future is bright.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2012 as National Native American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities, and to celebrate November 23, 2012, as Native American Heritage Day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA (Source : White House)

Responses to "Presidential Proclamation -- National Native American Heritage Month, 2012"

  1. Anonymous says:

    That's wonderful. What took him so long?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I've been waiting for our President to acknowledge Native peoples and now he has. It is wonderful. I think as Native people we need to keep Obama in the white house, I am frightened of Native Americas plight with Romney in.

  3. Anonymous says:

  4. franco says:

    I am a white male and have spent some time studying the plight of 1st Nation Peoples around the globe ( I currently live in Colombia where there are over 80 recognized Nations living under the oppression of the rest of the country and 8 Nations at the point of extinction. After all of the atrocities committed, it seems too little too late. With that said, I pray good will come from this for all of the original inhabitants of Turtle Island and Abya Yala (name of south america before it was "discovered").

  5. Christine says:

    Rather than focus on what took too long, or too little too late, I think it better to focus on the truth and strengths of our Native People, rather than the diminished view we've been handed by media reports and movies/TV. I remember newly elected President Obama asking our enemies, ie. the Taliban, to drop their weapons and extend their hands in partnership, because partnership is necessary to confront the issues of our changing planet. So, he extended the hand of our people to our Native People to let them know that they have our backing and support, something they've needed from us if we are to live here as a working, peaceful community. I have worked for Native Americans, found them to be my best employers, and found that the stories of the lives they've lived were often too much for one small white woman to bear. I cannot imagine living these lives. It's about time we all extended our hands in respect to them. Thanks to Barack Obama for bring this to our awareness as a whole. Also, the Dalai Lama of Tibet recently released a statement saying that he is pleased to see that human consciousness has taken a step forward towards embracing human rights and the environment of our planet. It's never to late to care and act.

  6. Unknown says:

    About time - great to hear
    - even if he's just looking for the Native American vote [being something of a cynic, I feel I have to add that].
    The U.N / U.N.E.S.C.O. should make this an annual world event, celebrating the indigenous peoples of each country.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Looking for vote. If this man is so great why does he want us to rely on the sun for power when he knows that planes are spraying chemicals that block the sun to change weather?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I wish this had been done three years ago when he didn't need our vote. I am very happy he did but it would have been much deeper meaning.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So, what did he do in 2009? Apparently this is not something he just decided to focus on. And I would think it took some time to resolve over 50 cases of Native American gripes with our gov. Don't u think?

  10. Anonymous says:

    He has proclaimed Native American month other years. It just might be that its noticed more this year because of this being an election year. President Obama has been more active in a positive manner with Native Americans than most previous presidents.

  11. Unknown says:

    I don't understand how any Native American could ever decide on a person to vote for, in any election.
    To me, I think I would feel as if I were voting for an enemy of my people and of the land. But I don't have that perspective.
    We the late comers to this country have so ruined the land and the freedom that was here in the beginning that I wish with all my heart we could join the true American tribes and give over the ruling power to the Chiefs it should have belonged to all along.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Native Americans need to vote because we definitely need a President of the United States to work with us for the benefit of our people. History has been horrible to Native Americans, I agree!

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