The Florida Department of Health, Office of Minority Health and the American Indian Advisory Council have planned a series of events to celebrate, educate and inform others of the diverse American Indian and Alaska Native populations, traditions, knowledge, their ways of life, and contributions.
This year's theme is "Share the Spirit: Cultures, Traditions and Contributions"
National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month is celebrated to recognize the intertribal cultures and to educate the public about food, art, culture, the way of life and the history of Native Americans today and in generations past heritage. This month, we celebrate the rich heritage and myriad contributions of American Indians and Alaska Natives, and we rededicate ourselves to supporting tribal sovereignty, tribal self-determination, and prosperity for all Native Americans. As we confront the challenges currently facing our tribal communities and work to ensure American Indians and Alaska Natives have meaningful opportunities to pursue their dreams, we are forging a brighter future for the First Americans and all Americans.
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 28, 1915 that the second Saturday in May would be dedicated to the learning about the United States first inhabitants.
In 1990, President George Bush expanded American Indian Day designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month. It is appropriate that American Indian 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 American Indians and the generosity of the local tribes in sharing their wisdom to teach settlers how to survive.
Click here for schedule of events