Published on October 19, 2011 by Amy
Native American Heritage month began as a proposal passed in 1915 that there should be an American Indian Day to honor the first Americans. Dr. Arthur C Parker, a Seneca Indian, proposed a special day during which all Americans would remember those who dwelled in the land first, before European exploration. The Congress of American Indians approved his proposal and it was passed on to then President Calvin Coolidge who issued a Proclamation on September 28m, 1915 that the second Saturday in May would be dedicated to the learning about the United States first inhabitants.
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In 1990, President George Bush expanded American Indian Day to Native American Heritage Month for November. Today, many classes around the country are devoted to learning about the life and history of American Indians during Native American Heritage month. Classes learn about food, culture, the way of life and the history of Native Americans today and in generations past during Native American Heritage month. Many children dress up in costumes to represent certain tribes, make pictures for art classes and give presentations for history classes during Native American Heritage Month.
During Native American Heritage month, many libraries have special exhibits dedicated to Native American culture and history. It is appropriate that Native American Heritage month falls in November, because Thanksgiving, a national holiday declared by Abraham Lincoln, celebrates the uncharacteristic cooperation and peace between the white man and the Native Americans and the generosity of the local tribes in sharing their wisdom to teach settlers how to survive. In addition to focusing on the pilgrims, on Native American Heritage months, schools increasingly learn more about the lives of Native Americans who shared the feast with the pilgrims.
Native American history month is an opportunity to learn more about the first inhabitants of the United States without whom the Europeans settlers could not have survived in the harsh conditions of the American wilderness.