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Senate approves resolution for National Native American Heritage Month

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Recognizing and honoring Native Americans was the focus of a resolution the U.S. Senate passed to designate November as National Native American Heritage Month.

It also recognizes the Friday after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day.

The resolution was approved on Nov. 18 and was sponsored by Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Tom Udall, D-N.M.

Both lead the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and their bill had bipartisan support from several co-sponsors including Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.

The purpose of the resolution is to celebrate the heritages and cultures of Native Americans and their contributions to the United States through fields such as agriculture, medicine, music and art.

It notes that Native Americans are inventors, entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders and scholars and current members and veterans of the military.

"From their distinguished service in the armed forces, to their contributions as teachers, doctors, lawyers, artists and entrepreneurs, Native Americans continue to play a crucial role in the growth and success of the United States," Hoeven said in a statement.

It also states that this month provides an opportunity to consider and recognize the contributions of Native Americans to America's history.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated last year there were approximately 6.9 million individuals of American Indian and Alaska Native descent in the U.S., according to the resolution.

More:Native American Heritage Month offers ways to talk about culture and tradition

All Nations Leadership Association members Chantelle John, left, and Verrona Cardinal prepare fry bread on Nov. 13, 2017 during a stew and fry bread sale at San Juan College Native American Center in Farmington. The sale was part of activities in honor of Native American Heritage Month at the college.

The document states that Native Americans continue to maintain cultures, traditions and languages and the stories of tragedy, triumph and perseverance in Native communities need to be shared with future generations.

New Mexico is home to four tribes and 19 pueblos.

"This month is a call to reflect on the ways American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians have shaped our society, and to recommit to upholding our trust and treaty obligations," Udall said in a statement.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., introduced a similar resolution this week and President Donald Trump signed a proclamation for National Native American Heritage Month.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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