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November is National Native American Heritage Month

Framingham State University Acknowledges Native American Lands

Framingham State University would like to acknowledge that the land we live, work, learn, and commune on is the original homelands of the Nipmuc tribal nations. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal from this territory, and we honor and respect the many diverse Indigenous peoples still connected to this land on which we gather. The Library is committed to honoring Native American and Indigenous Peoples’ heritage by hosting educational events and providing educational resources.

Visit the Nipmuc Nation's website to learn more about their history and organization.

To learn more about acknowledgements of Indigenous territories, visit the the website of the Native Land mapping project.

A Brief History of National Native American Heritage Month

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.

One of the very [first] 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 Blackfoot 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.

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

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

- found at the Native American Heritage Month homepage.

National Day of Mourning

An Alternative Perspective about the the fourth Thursday of November

Articles found in Gale General OneFile (FSU community only)

National Day of Mourning: The Flipside to Thanksgiving

While most people associate Thanksgiving Day with Macy's balloons, turkey dinner and football games, the United American Indians of New England honor a different kind of holiday: one of mourning and protest.

While Thanksgiving is a celebratory holiday for many, for some, the fourth Thursday of November is a solemn day of remembrance and activism. Since 1970, Native Americans and advocates have gathered in Plymouth to commemorate the National Day of Mourning, a protest started by the United American Indians of New England to raise awareness of the genocide of millions of Native Americans, to address current issues faced by Native peoples and to challenge the mainstream mythology of Thanksgiving.

The Myth of Thanksgiving and National Day of Mourning

"Correcting the mythology of Thanksgiving matters, because when people perpetuate the myth of the holiday, they are not only erasing the genocide of my ancestors, but also celebrating it," James said in an email. "Thanksgiving is also a day of mourning, because it is a time when we come together to mourn the deaths of millions of our indigenous ancestors as a result of settler colonialism."

For more information about the organizers of the National Day of Mourning, please visit the United American Indians of New England's website.

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