Thursday, October 30, 2008

National American Indian Heritage Month

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice. - Cherokee

November is a time of excitement as Americans vote in our National Election, and plan for the upcoming feast on Thanksgiving. How many Americans take the time to stop and reflect on the first Americans? How many of us take the time to learn more about these Americans?

What do you think of when you hear American Indian? Do you think of the early western films so popular in our culture 50 years ago? Does it conjure up visions of war whoops while attacking white settlers? Do you remember the Trail of Tears when the Cherokee Indians were forced to leave Georgia? Does it remind you of the valor of these men who understood the need to fight for honor, land and country during World War II? Perhaps, you think of a young maiden named Pocahontas of whom legends are still passed down? What an impact Pocahontas and other brave Native Americans had.

November is National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. This celebration of our tribal nations first began at the turn of the 20th century with the Boy Scouts.

In 1915, a formal proclamation was made by the Rev. Sheraman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to celebrate the contributions of America's first residents and called for their recognition as American citizens.

It wasn't until 1990 when President Bush signed the proclamation for National American Indian Heritage Month that it became a national celebration. Take time to learn more about the first Americans and their contributions to our way of life today. Take the time to understand the sacrifices they have made in the name of America.

Fayette Front Page Staff Report

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