Native American Heritage Month at Ute Museum

Photo of the scene outside of a tipi. Photo by Clyde W. Champion, 1928. History Colorado. 86.392.88
Photo of the scene outside of a tipi. Photo by Clyde W. Champion, 1928. 86.392.88
courtesy History Colorado
Courtesy History Colorado

During Native American Heritage Month, we celebrate Indian Country with its living legacy and wonderful diversity of American Indian and Alaska Native cultures. We remember and honor the Native veterans who sacrificed to defend the nation. The rich and diverse threads they weave into the tapestry of our nation’s heritage is recognized as a vital contribution to the strength and diversity of our society. 

Today’s month-long acknowledgement began more than a century ago with American Indian Day, when Dr. Arthur C. Parker, an archaeologist from the Seneca Tribe, persuaded the Boy Scouts to set aside a day honoring the First Americans. The idea traveled from Boy Scout campfires to the nation’s capital when Red Fox James (Blackfeet) presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. 

His attempt spurred efforts to proclaim a day of recognition, a call that grew louder when the Congress of American Indians formally approved a plan celebrating American Indian Day in 1915. Individual states followed with the first American Indian Day celebration in New York in May of 1916, while several other states observed in September.  

After decades of increasing recognition at the state level, in 1990 President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month which, together, we celebrate as Native American Heritage Month. 

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