CELEBRATING NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Throughout the United States there are many citizens who can trace their heritage back to the Native Americans of our country. Before colonial rule Native Americans thrived on the land we now live on.
As February is dedicated to Black History Month, November is dedicated to honoring those with Native American heritage. "National American Indian Heritage Month," also known as "Native American Heritage Month," is designated for this purpose.
Native American Heritage Month began as an effort to gain one day of recognition for the "first Americans" and the many things they had contributed to the United States.
Seneca Indian Dr. Arthur C. Parker worked as director at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Rochester, N.Y. While in New York and withthe help of the Boy Scouts of America, he attempted to have the nation recognize an official day honoring the "first Americans" and the key roles they played in our country's development.
On September 28, 1915, the president of the American Indian Association, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe Indian, proclaimed the second Saturday of each May to be observed as American Indian Day. This proclamation also included an appeal, which was the first of its kind, for Indians to be recognized as American citizens. In 1916 the Governor of New York declared the second Saturday of May to be American Indian Day.
It was not until 1990 that President George H.W. Bush approved the month of November to be National American Heritage Month.
One of the important things that Native American culture has given to the United States would be the Navajo language. During World War II the U.S. Government was looking for a code that enemies would not be able to break.
Because Navajo was only spoken in the southwest region of the United States, had different dialects and no written alphabet, along with its distinctive tonal qualities, it was a perfect "code." Marine units of the military were able to use this code without it ever being broken.
This is only one of the many important things Native Americans have contributed to our country. To learn more about Native American Heritage Month, click HERE!