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Native American Heritage Month

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 @ 11:00 am - Thursday, October 29, 2020 @ 5:00 pm MST

November is Native American Heritage Month, dedicated to exploring and paying tribute to the rich history and traditions of Native Americans. For a collection of posts exploring the Library’s resources related to Native American experiences and contributions.

Native American cultures are alive and well today, thriving and evolving within cities, rural communities, tribes, and nations across the United States.

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 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 for 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.

“As the First Americans, Native Americans have helped shape the future of the United States through every turn of our history,” as Ronald Reagan first proclaimed in 1969. Before the U.S. existed, before a few European countries established outposts, hundreds of Indian nations thrived on this continent. These indigenous people developed and fostered their own music, dance, art, and foods for millenniums. Experience the life and history of several nations in this annual Native American Indian Social Month and Craft Market event to keep our 10,000-year-old culture alive for the 21st century and beyond. Here, you will find authentic artwork, crafts, demonstrations of their songs, and dances to expand your knowledge of American Indian ways.

Spend the weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM on November 27, 28, and 29, 2020. Everyone is welcome. Bring friends and camera. Featured highlights: demonstrations by Tohono O’Odham basketweaver, Lola Thomas, Navajo flute playing by Marvin Todacheenie, and Pima/Apache champion hoop dancer, Cecil Manuel, and possibly other presentations.

The events will be held at the Catalyst Arts Center Located at 4500 N Oracle Rd. (Tucson Mall, Sears entrance #3) Free admission and free parking. Scholarship donations appreciated.


Tuesday, October 27, 2020 @ 11:00 am MST
Thursday, October 29, 2020 @ 5:00 pm MST
Event Categories:
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American Indian Exposition


Tucson Mall, Sears Entrance #3 at Catalyst Arts
4500 N. Oracle Road
Tucson, AZ United States
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