Native American Heritage Day Message
by Ernie Stevens, Jr., Chairman
Washington, D.C. (November 26, 2021) – On October 29, 2021, President Biden issued a proclamation declaring November 2021 as National Native American Heritage Month and called on all Americans to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities and to celebrate November 26 as Native American Heritage Day.
President Biden's shared in his proclamation, "Native American roots are deeply embedded in this land — a homeland loved, nurtured, strengthened, and fought for with honor and conviction. We honor the precious, strong, and enduring cultures and contributions of all Native Americans and recommit ourselves to fulfilling the full promise of our Nation together."
Throughout November, people from all walks of life embraced the opportunities to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. Many throughout the country took the time to recognize and celebrate the cultural and historical contributions of Native Americans to the United States, including opportunities to increase awareness and understanding of the heritage and culture of the tribes and people in their neighboring areas. I greatly appreciate the efforts made to better educate the general public on the legacy of tribes and their communities.
Our celebration of Native American Heritage Day 2021 acknowledges how our Native American people, who occupied this land long before Europeans arrived, have continued to mold, and contribute to the history of America. We celebrate and recognize the generations of dedicated Native American warriors who fought to maintain, strengthen, and rebuild our way of life amidst the historical threats of assimilation. The strong presence of our culture and heritage can be attributed to these brave men and women leaders who persevered despite tremendous obstacles to keep our heritage alive.
Native America carries the legacy of our ancestors and is taking the next step of teaching the generations of tomorrow about our survival, dedication, and our many contributions. It is a credit to our previous generations that we have this opportunity. They sacrificed immensely to give hope for the dream of a better tomorrow. They envisioned self-determination and prosperity of life. We realize that vision, and we must share the success and survival of the Native Americans with the rest of the world. We will continue in this generation and future generations to succeed and flourish.
As Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association, I greatly appreciate today's efforts to better educate the general public on the heritage of tribes and their communities. I am profoundly grateful for the generations of dedicated tribal leaders who have fought and who continue to fight to maintain, strengthen and, in some cases, rebuild the way of life that is constantly threatened. These honorable leaders representing all of our sovereign governments, along with the perseverance of Native people throughout their communities, are responsible for keeping our heritage alive and passing it down to each successive generation despite the tremendous challenges and obstacles put before them.
Recognition of Native American Heritage Day is powerful because it is an enduring symbol of this country's appreciation and respect for America's First Nations and celebrating our cultural heritage and integral importance to our past, present, and future.