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November celebrates Native American heritage
By TESINA JACKSON
Fri, Oct 29, 2010
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – In 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Since then, proclamations such as Native American Heritage Month and National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month have been issued.
To celebrate National American Indian Heritage Month, the Cherokee Nation has held events the past several years, but this year it will focus on storytelling.
“The reason we wanted to do this is to celebrate and tell our story, educate our citizens and provide them with information, attributes, knowledge and share it with them,” said Todd Enlow, CN Leadership group leader. “The main focus of this year’s event is teaching our attributes and values through storytelling as well as teaching part of our history through stories. We’re sharing our culture and our wisdom through storytelling.”
In 2011, Enlow said the tribe plans to focus more on traditional games.
According to the National American Indian Heritage Month website, the search for Native American recognition, before 1990, started just as wanting one day to make known contributions Native Americans made to the establishment and growth of the United States.
For many years, many people and groups tried to gain acknowledgement of Native Americans. One person was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian. Parker was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y., who persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans.”
In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to issue a proclamation to observe such a day. Coolidge issued the proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Native Americans as citizens.
The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Native Americans. On Dec. 14, 1915, he presented the support of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record on whether a national day was proclaimed due to his efforts.
CN Schedule of events
Nov. 2: Opening remarks and storytelling, 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at the Tribal Council Chambers
Nov. 2: History Talk, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. at the Tribal Council Chambers
Nov. 3: Flute performance by Tommy Wildcat and storytelling, 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Tribal Council Chambers
Nov. 3: Storytelling by and for children, 1 p.m.-4 p.m., Tribal Council Chambers
Nov. 4: Community storytelling, 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Tribal Council Chambers