Published October 26, 2017
WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Tom Udall (D-NM), chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), today led a bipartisan group of 21 senators in introducing a resolution to recognize the month of November as National Native American Heritage Month. The resolution celebrates the heritage, culture and history of Native Americans and recognizes the many contributions Native Americans have made to our nation.
“Native Americans have significantly shaped our nation’s history and identity – from influencing America’s founding fathers in crafting the Constitution, to serving in our military at higher rates per capita than any other group,” said Hoeven. “National Native American Heritage Month celebrates these powerful contributions and reaffirms the longstanding government-to-government relationship that the United States shares with tribal nations. I am glad to join my Senate colleagues in honoring the storied histories, cultures and traditions of American Indians and Alaska Natives.”
“Every chapter of American history is touched by the contributions of Tribes and Native American leaders — from Po’Pay and the Pueblo Revolt to Red Cloud and the Fort Laramie Treaty to the World War II Code Talkers and beyond,” said Udall. “Tribes have truly shaped the American experience. Native American Heritage Month honors these immeasurable and defining contributions. As we celebrate this month, we must recommit ourselves to improving Tribal consultation, strengthening our government-to-government relationship, and expanding opportunity in Indian Country.”
In addition to the chairman and vice chairman, the resolution is cosponsored by 8 members of the SCIA, including Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Steve Daines (R-MT), James Lankford (R-OK), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Al Franken (D-MN), and Jon Tester (D-MT).
“Native American Heritage Month is about honoring the culture and history of our first people,” said Heitkamp. “Native Americans have influenced our country for centuries – impacting the founding of our nation, serving in the military and as code talkers in World War II, and helping maintain vibrant and rich traditions that remind us for the past as we also look to the future for Native communities. It’s because of that history that the federal government must uphold its trust and treaty responsibilities to tribes, and we must make sure they are not forgotten. The federal government must do better to support Native families and communities, and this resolution is a reminder of that.”
“National Native American Heritage Month celebrates the rich history and foundational role of Indian tribes in our nation,” said Daines. “This month only reinforces the sacred government-to-government relationship between Native American tribes and the federal government, as well as the importance of tribal sovereignty.”
Additional cosponsors include Senators John Thune (R-SD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dean Heller (R-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Angus King (D-ME), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).