Wednesday

November is Native American Heritage Month, also referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to overcome these challenges.

One early proponent of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, whose father was Seneca Indian. 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 (which promoted unity among American Indians regardless of tribal affiliation), meeting in Lawrence, Kan., 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 American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.

For a 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, but such a national day was not proclaimed at the time.

'A Cree Native Father & child' ~ Prince Albert, Saskatchewan c1920s-30s 

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 followed, celebrating the fourth Friday in September. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American, or Indigenous Peoples Day, but it continues to be a day observed without any recognition as a national legal holiday.


In 1990 Pres. George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name, have been issued each year since 1994.

Sources: National Congress of American Indians, Library of Congress

 VIDEO

Responses to "Native American Heritage Month: celebrating Native culture, honoring Native history "

Write a comment

Stats

Archives

Pages