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November 19, 2001

    I have put this document/article in as a service to the many that have asked me what I knew about a National Native American Day or Month. I confess that I sought this out just as much for my own curiosity, for I had heard of nothing substantial along these lines either. The more I thought about it, the more it rather gnawed at me. 

Why gnaw? Well, on the face of it, it should not I suppose; however, in view of the fact that there are "Days and Months" for virtually everything else one can possibly imagine in this Country, there damn well sure should be one for the Native American! 

So, I went out to look, in the course of it all, the "things" that have a National Day are simply mindboggling, even downright hilarious to the extreme. I am not going to list all of them them here, that would take the joy of finding them for yourselves away.

However, just to give you an idea, take a look at these:
National Rocky Road Day -- June 2 
Ice Cream Soda Day -- June 20 
National Ice Cream Month -- July 1-31 
National Ice Cream Day (3rd Sunday in July) 
Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day -- July 1 
National Strawberry Sundae Day -- July 7 
National Ice Cream Day -- July 16, 2000 
National Peach Ice Cream Day -- July 17 
National Vanilla Ice Cream Day -- July 23 
National Ice Cream Soda Day -- August 2
National Ice Cream Sandwich Day -- August 2 
National Creamsicle Day -- August 14 
National Spumoni Day -- August 21 
The Birth of the Ice Cream Cone -- September 21
National Frappe Day -- October 7 
National Parfait Day -- November 25 
Ice Cream and Violins Day -- December 13 

As for the article/document below I have cited the Source, and have placed it here in its entirety - make of it what you will. 

My only question is this: Why does this National American Indian Month have to be "renewed" each year? (CLICK HERE TO READ PROCLAMATION FOR 2001). Especially since it does not "cost" all that much to endow it with permanency and what little cost it would have, making it permanent would certainly eliminate the year-to-year costs. Certainly a great many humorous type comments come to mind, but as well, so do some rather dark images. At any rate, make of the article what you will, as I said, it is but an attempt at replying to those friends of mine that have shared the question with me. 

The Creation of American Indian Heritage Month

A brief history

Source: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs

Dr. Arthur C. Parker
Dr. Arthur C. Parker

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 purpose.


Early Proponents

  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, N.Y. 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, Kans., 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 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 Indians as citizens.

The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfeet 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 proclaimed.


American Indian Tribes 

Glossary of American Indian Terms

Navajo Code Talkers

Sacagawea Golden Dollar


State Celebrations

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of N.Y. 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 holiday.


Heritage Months

  In 1990 President George Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations have been issued each year since 1994. The theme for 2001 is "Our Children, Our Nations, Our Future." 

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