Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Celebrating Thanksgiving with Native Americans

Eagle Point Group of Texas
I celebrated Thanksgiving (2012) with Native Americans, U.S. Army Service members, and fellow Veterans during a Native American/Alaskan Native Heritage Observance ceremony at Fort Hood, TX. It wasn't my primary choice to celebrate Thanksgiving in tandem with a diversity celebration, yet my focus changed once I was seated and in attendance for the 10:00 am ceremony.

What I lost sight of--was the fact that Thanksgiving was first established and shared with the English Settlers from the Old World. It was the Indian that saved the remnants of the early colonists; they blessed us with perhaps the most relevant commemorative holiday short of either Christmas, Easter, or the Presidential elections. I found that I knew very little about Native American heritage. For instance, John Woo's 2002 film Wind Talkers (starring Nicholas Cage) was an actual portrayal of the contribution of Native American (Navajo) Soldiers --their use of tribal languages--to encode military intelligence that was unable to be deciphered by Hitler's Nazi officers.

History of Native American Heritage Commemoration

Presidential Proclamation
 of Native American Heritage
Dr. Arthur Parker, a Seneca Indian, persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to adopt a First Americans Day; Congress and President Coolidge [officially] followed suit on September 28, 1915 [some three years later]. Fast forward to 1990--President George Herbert Bush designated November as Native American Heritage Month. 

Today, President Barack Obama proclaimed November 23, 2012 as Native American Heritage Day. The President has acknowledged the longstanding legal claims, of the American Indian, against the United States. He supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In partnership with tribal nations, my Administration has addressed injustices and built new avenues of opportunity for American Indians and Alaskan Natives. As we celebrate National Native American Heritage Month, let us move forward in the spirit of mutual understanding and mutual trust, confident that our challenges can be met and that our shared future is bright.
As we practice our annual ritual of giving thanks, let us also adopt an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude for our Creator and our creation. The ULTIMATE sacrifice of our Military [as well as the service of Veterans]. The blessings of family and friends. Meaningful employment; thriving businesses...surviving tragic consequences of natural disasters. And let us remember our Native American Brothers and Sisters for their great gift...

The Gift of Thanksgiving!

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