Today, Barack Obama proclaimed November as National Native American Heritage Month, 2013. I posted this on my Facebook page and was very happy about it. I’ve seen other people post it as well. While I have yet to see it on my page (the day is early), I have seen on other posters pages the argument that George W. Bush already did this and that Obama’s proclamation is meaningless. I might know a thing or two about the history involved here. I am not going to say I am an expert on this. I am only passionate about it and have researched it on my own on multiple occasions. I encourage you to do your own research and if you discover any more interesting facts (or if I am wrong about something) to share with us.
In 1986, Ronald Reagan was the first president to make any proclamation about the status of November as being officially related to Native Americans. It was not the whole of the month, but rather only a single week, but it would be incorrect not to include Reagan’s contribution. There were three more National American Indian Weeks in ‘87, ‘88, ‘89.
The dedication of the entire month came about in 1990. George H.W. Bush was the President this time, and delivered his own proclamation. There has been a series of proclamations since. Clinton made them, and so did George W. Bush, as mentioned above (though he was not, as I have pointed out, the originator of this, despite what I have been hearing from some individuals today). In fact, this is not the first proclamation Obama has made either. Since 1986 the week, and beginning in 1990, the month has been proclaimed by the President every single year. But if you have been reading these proclamations you are hopefully beginning to notice a pattern. Have you noticed it?
Today, President Obama made the annual proclamation. It did not make the news, for the most part. It is nothing special to mass media. It happens every year. It’s just another presidential speech and it doesn’t apply to taxes or war. Have you read it yet? Did you notice the difference between this proclamation and the others I’ve linked? If not, feel free to read again before continuing.
You are correct. This is the first time in all those proclamations that the President admitted the wrong-doing of the U.S. Government. Before, only Clinton and Obama even mentioned any hardship endured. But unlike those simple, short sentences, today Obama outlined some of the atrocities of the U.S. Government and baldly placed that on the shoulders of Uncle Sam. That is why I was excited today. That is why a lot of us are posting about this. That is why the proclamation today is important.