The efforts to have even a day dedicated to recognizing the contributions of indigenous people began in the 1910s. Early efforts were led by Dr. Arthur Caswell Parker (Seneca Nation), Red Fox James (Blackfeet), and Rev. Sherman Collidge (Arapahoe Tribe) (AIANTA). Finally, in 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved the resolution that made November “National American Indian Heritage Month.” However, November is also host to Thanksgiving, a day named a National Day of Mourning by the United American Indians of New England over 50 years ago [Here and Now].
Consequently, this year the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences is celebrating Indigenous Awareness Month—also known as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month—in April, in acknowledgement of the dark history of not only Thanksgiving, but the pointed 2020 Proclamation on National American History and Founders Month, and the continued acknowledgement of Columbus Day over Indigenous People’s Day.
Indigenous Awareness Month is a time to acknowledge and celebrate the many cultures and histories of indigenous peoples. This month is particularly topical for those of us in Oklahoma, a state that is home to 39 federally recognized sovereign nations (OU Native American Studies).
For more information, see the following links: