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senate Bill S. Res. 414

Should the Senate Designate November as National Native American Heritage Month & November 29 as Native American Heritage Day?

Argument in favor

It’s a simple gesture, but the Senate should recognize November as National Native American Heritage Month and the Friday after Thanksgiving as National Native American Heritage Day in recognition of Native Americans contributions to the U.S. and their role in the first Thanksgiving.

burrkitty's Opinion
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11/29/2019
Also replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.
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Mark's Opinion
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11/29/2019
Replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day and make Election Day a National holiday.
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jimK's Opinion
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11/29/2019
Yes, commemorating shared common heritages and letting us all reflect on our past is always a good thing to do. In really comes down the epic lyrics of Aretha Franklin in her song: R-E-S-P-E-C-T .
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Argument opposed

There’s no need to waste the Senate’s time with this resolution, as President Trump has already issued the traditional presidential proclamation making November National Native American Heritage Month and the Friday after Thanksgiving Native American Heritage Day.

Ronald's Opinion
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11/29/2019
Stop meaningless proclamations. Congress has serious business: 1 Pass a full, annual, balanced budget. End impeachment mania. Support our President. Build our Wall.
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Jim2423's Opinion
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11/29/2019
No! How about November be designated as National American Month. This way all ALL Americans can be celebrated along with your ethic background. I do not understand why we have to have a declaration of ethic month. We are now ALL Americans. In our town one day groups gather and celebrate their historic background with food, dress, dance. We didn’t need Congress to unify us. We already have a Native American Museum in Washington DC. What more? Our native Paiute tribe has a museum on the reservation, and it is a good museum. No we should abolish all heritage months. Everyone has the celebrations without help from Congress. Stick to things that unite us all instead of singling ethic groups out.
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Leonard 's Opinion
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11/29/2019
NO. Absolutely not. First off we ha way too many days that divide us. Second, Christopher Columbus never committed genocide. Third, we as all Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving Day as it should be to give thanks to God and Country for all the blessings we have been given to America. All of a sudden we have some politically correct groups that want to change things “just because” and to further divide us. IF ... you don’t like America as it is then please leave. We all value American Indians ... however, leave this grateful holiday alone.
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simple resolution Progress


  • The senate has not voted
    IntroducedNovember 7th, 2019

What is Senate Bill S. Res. 414?

This bill would recognize National Native American Heritage Month and celebrate the heritages and cultures of Native Americans and their contributions to the U.S. It would recognize November 2019 as “National Native American Heritage Month” and recognize the Friday after Thanksgiving (November 29, 2019) as “Native American Heritage Day” in accordance with the Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009. Finally, it would urge the people of the U.S. to observe National Native American Heritage Month and Native American Heritage Day with appropriate programs and activities.

As a simple resolution, this legislation is non-binding and wouldn’t advance beyond the Senate if passed.

Impact

Native Americans; Native American history; National Native American Heritage Month; and Native American Heritage Day.

Cost of Senate Bill S. Res. 414

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) reintroduced this resolution from the 115th Congress to recognize National Native American Heritage Month and celebrate Native Americans’ heritage, culture, and contributions to U.S. history. After this resolution passed the Senate, he said:

“We are pleased that the Senate has approved our resolution to recognize the culture, history, traditions, and achievements made by Native Americans to our great country. From their distinguished service in the Armed Forces, to their contributions as inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, and scholars, Native Americans continue to play a fundamental role in the growth and success of the United States.” 

When he introduced this resolution in the 115th Congress in November 2018, Sen. Hoeven said

“Native American Heritage Month recognizes the remarkable legacies and accomplishments of Native Americans. While this resolution designates November as Native American Heritage Month, it is important that we honor and respect the contributions of tribal communities throughout the year. We’ve worked hard… to advance Indian Country’s priorities, including improving public safety, education and health care while also creating opportunities for economic growth and good jobs. I look forward to continuing the Committee’s critical work to empower the Native American people, maintain tribal sovereignty and preserve their heritage.”

Original Democratic cosponsor Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) added

“I’m proud that the Senate passed our bipartisan resolution recognizing November as Native American Heritage Month. This resolution honors the countless ways Native American have shaped New Mexico and our national identity. It also challenges us to examine how we can better stand with Tribes to meet our trust and treaty obligations. As vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I am proud to represent the 23 Tribes from my home state of New Mexico and all Tribes across the country. It is an honor to work with Tribal leaders, Native communities, and people on both sides of the aisle to strengthen Tribal sovereignty, self-determination, and self-governance each day.”

Last Congress, Sen. Udall noted the many contributions that Native Americans have made to U.S. history and culture: 

“[W]e recognize and celebrate the indelible mark that Native American arts, languages, cultures, and peoples have left on New Mexico and the United States. From the Iroquois Confederacy to World War II Code Talkers and beyond, Native communities have shaped the American experience for hundreds of years, helping to write every chapter of our nation’s history. And, in New Mexico, which is home to 23 Tribes, the bedrock of who we are as a state and a people is rooted in the contributions of Native leaders, languages, and traditions.”

Rep. Debra Haaland (D-NM), sponsor of this resolution’s House companion, says

“[November] is set aside to celebrate Native American contributions to this country, but also to recognize the failure of the federal government to uphold its trust responsibility to Native Nations. Native Americans have overcome many hardships since the onset of colonization including federally-mandated genocide and devastating federal policies including assimilation and removal eras. And we're still here. This month, we must celebrate the resilience of our Native American communities, and work to ensure the federal government lives up to its trust responsibility to Native Nations.”

This legislation passed the Senate by unanimous consent with the support of 31 bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including 20 Democrats, 10 Republicans, and one Independent. Its House companion, sponsored by Rep. Debra Haaland (D-NM), has 24 bipartisan House cosponsors, including 22 Democrats and two Republicans.


Of NoteNational American Indian Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of the people who were the original inhabitants, explorers, and settlers of the U.S. It originates from 1986, when Congress enacted Pub. L. 99-471, which authorized and requested the president to proclaim the week of November 23-30, 1986 as “American Indian Week.”

Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump have issued annual proclamations designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month or National Native American Heritage Month (which is what the month has been called since 2009). These proclamations celebrate the contributions of the American Indians and urge people in the U.S. to learn more about American Indian cultures.

This year, however, while President Trump issued the customary proclamation designating November 2019 as National Native American Heritage Month and November 29, 2019 as Native American Heritage Day, he also issued a concurrent resolution also designating November 2019 as National American History and Founders Month.

Some have criticized the concurrent timing of these two observations, arguing that Trump’s timing of the National American History and Founders Month celebration is an effort to chip away at tribal sovereignty and erase Native American history. Clifford Trafzer, a UC Riverside professor who specializes in Native American history, says he believes Trump’s actions were intentionally harmful to Native American peoples: 

“Conservatives have long tried to destroy Indian people and Indian nations, like Trump's hero, Andrew Jackson. He renamed the month as he wanted to do additional harm to American Indian people who have a history of dealing with destroyers like Trump. His proclamation is an affront to Native Americans but also American citizens who understand the foundation of the United States on Indian lands and from Native resources."  

Defenders of the National American History and Founders Month proclamation argue that it’s designed to encourage and support the study of U.S. history. CACI — whose executive chairman and chairman of the board Jack London’s wife, Dr. Jennifer Burkhart London, has led this initiative — supports the establishment of National American History and Founders Month. In a November 2018 special announcement, it said: 

“[I]n recognition of the growing importance of American history to maintaining a democratic society, CACI supports the establishment of November as National American History and Founders Month. As the United States approaches its 250th anniversary in 2026, this commemoration is intended to empower Americans to be active citizens with a greater understanding of our country's foundational origins, and its civics and governance. While other holidays celebrate key events, leaders, and groups responsible for shaping and building the nation, there has been no official recognition or formal commemoration of America's founding history. The selection of November is set apart and distinguished by its inclusion of several important milestone dates, such as Election Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving. Establishment of an annual National American History and Founders Month will create a tradition of educating and popularizing the early history of our country and its founders. This new commemoration will boost the appreciation and study of American history, the founding history and principles of our country, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the structure of our government, and the unique process by which our government leaders are elected.”

Trafzer also argues that Trump doesn’t care about the Founding Fathers, as “He cannot name most of the Founding Fathers. "He knows nothing of the Constitution of the development of the American Republic." 

For National Native American Heritage Month 2019, the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the Dept. of the Interior put together a month’s worth of events — beginning with a kickoff event on November 12 and ending with closing events and a ceremony on November 21 — to celebrate Native American culture and raise awareness of issues facing the Native American community.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Nature, food, landscape, travel)

AKA

A resolution recognizing National Native American Heritage Month and celebrating the heritages and cultures of Native Americans and the contributions of Native Americans to the United States.

Official Title

A resolution recognizing National Native American Heritage Month and celebrating the heritages and cultures of Native Americans and the contributions of Native Americans to the United States.

    Also replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.
    Like (107)
    Follow
    Share
    Stop meaningless proclamations. Congress has serious business: 1 Pass a full, annual, balanced budget. End impeachment mania. Support our President. Build our Wall.
    Like (43)
    Follow
    Share
    Replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day and make Election Day a National holiday.
    Like (89)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes, commemorating shared common heritages and letting us all reflect on our past is always a good thing to do. In really comes down the epic lyrics of Aretha Franklin in her song: R-E-S-P-E-C-T .
    Like (57)
    Follow
    Share
    Again Native Americans are the only true American. We are all immigrants
    Like (42)
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    This seems like a good way to better combat the myths around "the first Thanksgiving" and enhance all our knowledge of Native American culture and history.
    Like (37)
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    Replace Columbus Day with Native American Heritage Day. Native Americans were already here.
    Like (30)
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    Replace Columbus Day with Indigenous peoples day as well.
    Like (24)
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    I am in favor of a day honoring our indigenous peoples. Thanksgiving time is appropriate, but I personally would prefer October 12th.
    Like (19)
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    No! How about November be designated as National American Month. This way all ALL Americans can be celebrated along with your ethic background. I do not understand why we have to have a declaration of ethic month. We are now ALL Americans. In our town one day groups gather and celebrate their historic background with food, dress, dance. We didn’t need Congress to unify us. We already have a Native American Museum in Washington DC. What more? Our native Paiute tribe has a museum on the reservation, and it is a good museum. No we should abolish all heritage months. Everyone has the celebrations without help from Congress. Stick to things that unite us all instead of singling ethic groups out.
    Like (17)
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    That is a nice gesture but what our country needs is our Congress to work on something that is more than a feel good thing to win votes; like USMCA, the 1800+ dams and bridges that are on the edge of destroying human life, healthcare (since neither party wants to fix Obamacare), opioid crisis, prescription drug prices and abuse, China Trade Agreement and protection from intellectual property theft and cyber security, housing for the homeless, overcrowded classrooms and prisons, the National Debt, Border Security, Immiration Reform, you know; the tough stuff that you said you would work on when we elected you.
    Like (15)
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    I’m for this. Vote yes
    Like (13)
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    NO. Absolutely not. First off we ha way too many days that divide us. Second, Christopher Columbus never committed genocide. Third, we as all Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving Day as it should be to give thanks to God and Country for all the blessings we have been given to America. All of a sudden we have some politically correct groups that want to change things “just because” and to further divide us. IF ... you don’t like America as it is then please leave. We all value American Indians ... however, leave this grateful holiday alone.
    Like (13)
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    AND Native History MUST be required in school curriculums. It is nonsense that it is omitted. The REAL history.
    Like (13)
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    Get more important work done.
    Like (12)
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    Don’t we already have designations in place & didn’t Trump already trounce all over it? Yes we should have them...more importantly we should be working to not further marginalize our Native American citizens. Spilled pipeline anyone?
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    Heck of a lot better than Bible month
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    As a country, we are way overdue in more fully acknowledging and honoring indigenous populations. Dedicating November to American Indian culture and history would be the honorable thing to do.
    Like (10)
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    Yes Truly great idea to Honor Native Americans hopes they Are willing to Forgive the US Army and Peoples for doing Such Terrible means of Destroying their Way of Life and murdering so Many hundreds of Thousands of a Amazing and Blessed people and Culture it must be Restored...Not there yet still too Great Damage done even Today !! Peace to all Natives
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    When googling ‘native American day’ my top search result was Treasure Island Resort and Casino. This result speaks volumes and I love @jimK’s response of R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Indigenous Americans were here long before “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” came about and coincidentally, indigenous Americans are the ones who have historically had everything taken from them. I’m all in for Indigenous Peoples Day as a day ‘in honor of native indigenous Americans in opposition to the celebration of Columbus Day.’ The only way to advance understanding of our history rather to falsely glorify it is to realistically emphasize and share it. What I remain steadfastly against is the further commercialization of our holidays as watershed money making opportunities for the offloading of meaningless trinkets and Hallmark cards on consumers. Simply stated, if we are going to share a holiday, the meaning of the holiday should not be lost and overshadowed by the desire to produce profit as is all too frequently the case.
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