US Senate Passes Resolution to Honor Native American Month

Capitol BuildingNative American Heritage Month

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a resoluton to recognize the contributions Native Americans have made to the United States. The resolution was introduced by Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman Jon Tester (D-Montana) with 26 bipartisan cosponsors.

“As we celebrate and commemorate the rich and diverse cultures and traditions of American Indians, we must acknowledge the enduring challenges many tribal communities face,” Tester said.

“During this month and beyond, we must recommit to strengthening the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the United States.  This month also serves as a reminder that the federal government has treaty and trust obligations to tribes, and we must do more to ensure they have the tools they need to build stronger and healthier communities.”

Tester’s resolution is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mark Begich (D-AK), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Patty Murray (D-WA), Harry Reid (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), John Thune (R-SD), Tom Udall (D-NM), John Walsh (D-MT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The full text of Tester’s resolution follows:

  1. RES.590

Recognizing National Native American Heritage Month and celebrating the heritages and cultures of Native Americans and the contributions of Native Americans to the United States.

 RESOLUTION

Recognizing National Native American Heritage Month and celebrating the heritages and cultures of Native Americans and the contributions of Native Americans to the United States.

Whereas from November 1, 2014, through November 30, 2014, the United States celebrates National Native American Heritage Month;

Whereas Native Americans are descendants of the original, indigenous inhabitants of what is now the United States;

Whereas the Bureau of the Census estimated in 2010 that there were more than 5,000,000 individuals in the United States of Native American descent;

Whereas Native Americans maintain vibrant cultures and traditions and hold a deeply rooted sense of community;

Whereas Native Americans have moving stories of tragedy, triumph, and perseverance that need to be shared with future generations;

Whereas Native Americans speak and preserve indigenous languages, which have contributed to the English language by being used as names of individuals and locations throughout the United States;

Whereas Congress has consistently reaffirmed the support of the United States of tribal self-governance and self-determination and the commitment of the United States to improving the lives of all Native Americans by—

(1)  enhancing health care and law enforcement resources;

(2)  improving the housing and socioeconomic status of Native Americans; and

(3)  approving settlements of litigation involving Indian tribes and the United States;

Whereas the United States is committed to strengthening the government-to-government relationship that it has maintained with the various Indian tribes;

Whereas Congress has recognized the contributions of the Iroquois Confederacy, and the influence of the Confederacy on the Founding Fathers in the drafting of the Constitution of the United States with the concepts of—

(1)  freedom of speech;

(2)  the separation of governmental powers; and

(3)  the system of checks and balances between the branches of government;

Whereas with the enactment of the Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009 (Public Law 111–33; 123 Stat. 1922), Congress—

(1)  reaffirmed the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Native American governments; and

(2)  recognized the important contributions of Native Americans to the culture of the United States;

Whereas Native Americans have made distinct and important contributions to the United States and the rest of the world in many fields, including the fields of agriculture, medicine, music, language, and art, and Native Americans have distinguished themselves as inventors, entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders, and scholars;

Whereas Native Americans have served with honor and distinction in the Armed Forces, and continue to serve in the Armed Forces in greater numbers per capita than any other group in the United States;

Whereas the United States has recognized the contribution of the Native American code talkers in World War I and World War II, who used indigenous languages as an unbreakable military code, saving countless lives in the United States; and

Whereas the people of the United States have reason to honor the great achievements and contributions of Native Americans and their ancestors: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) recognizes the month of November 2014 as National Native American Heritage Month;

(2) recognizes the Friday after Thanksgiving as “Native American Heritage Day” in accordance with the Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009 (Public Law 111–33; 123 Stat. 1922); and

(3) urges the people of the United States to observe National Native American Heritage Month and Native American Heritage Day with appropriate programs and activities.

 

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