New Mexico Democrats Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

The Democratic Party of New Mexico is proud to celebrate diversity and to join in the observance of Native American Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people.

Each year we observe Native American Heritage Month in November by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens of the native peoples of New Mexico and the southwest, as well as those whose ancestors are indigenous to all of the western hemisphere, including North America, Central America, and South America.

We join in celebrating the diversity that we, as a nation, as a community organization, and as a political party must embrace, if we are to continue to ensure the future success of this great nation and remain a beacon of freedom to the rest of the world. We also celebrate the great cultural contributions Native American people have brought to the American quilt, and the ongoing economic contributions of those communities, which have greatly benefited all of us throughout our nation.

In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning 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 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. Several states have designated October 12, Columbus Day, as Native American Day.

In 1990 Congress passed a joint resolution of designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month,” which was signed by the President. 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.