Tuesday, November 18, 2008
November is National Native American Heritage Month. The purpose of this month long observance is to honor and recognize the original peoples of this land. Throughout our history, Native Americans have been an important part of the foundations of this country. Yet, they have often been overlooked, stereotyped or misunderstood. Beginning with the arrival of Columbus in 1492, Native Americans were nearly wiped out as a result of genocide, disease, U.S. policies and systematic removal from their lands. Today, Native Americans continue to face discrimination and injustices in part due to U.S. policies and corporate greed. Many suffer from the same social and economic challenges as other victims of long-term bias and discrimination. While some tribal Nations have begun to overcome these challenges, for the most part, Native Americans are very much separate and unequal members of society.
As we think about Native Americans, we must not only look to the past, but also look at the present and future. Today, Native Americans are struggling to preserve a range of basic civil rights including: the right to practice their spiritual and cultural traditions, to safeguard their lands and the environment, to ensure their voting rights, to eliminate the use of racist mascots by schools and professional sports teams and to hold the U.S. government accountable for its historic responsibilities to Native Americans. We should not only make National Native American Heritage Month a time to reflect and understand the history of Native Americans but to also understand our responsibility to ensure that their basic civil and human rights are upheld.
NARF Native American Heritage Month
For more information: http://narf.convio.net/mdw08
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