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Indigenous Nations Heritage Month




 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

 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, NY. 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, KS, 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 September 28, 1915, which declared the
Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the 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

 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

 In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a join resolution designating 
 November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations,
 under variants* of the name (Native American Heritage Month, National American
 Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month) have been issued each year since 1994.
 At Mesa Community College November is referred to as Indigenous Nations Month.

 Information courtesy of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
*Mesa Community College refers to November as Indigenous Nations Heritage Month.

Joy Harjo, 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, is the first Native American to serve as Poet Laureate of the United States.  She is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. ​​​

Click here for Reading and Concert (1:36:05).

Photo taken June 6, 2019 by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress. Available on flickr.



Joy Harjo, U.S. Poet Laureate: A Resource Guide

On June 19, 2019, Joy Harjo was appointed the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. This guide provides access to selected print and online resources related to Harjo's life and work.

Ask yourself:
When you think Thanksgivingdo you think insanity?

Take 4:38 minutes and watch The Invention of Thanksgiving to learn National Museum of the American Indian curator Paul Chaat Smith's (Comanche) visually rich take on the matter:

From the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian exhibition "Americans."

Ask yourself:
When does appropriate become appropriation?

Read this 2015 AZ Republic article and ponder the conundrum created when Christian Louboutin found inspiration from a deal struck between Nike and designer Dwayne Manuel (O'odham).



What's a shoe to do?