Native American Heritage Month 2009

As Native American Heritage Month 2009 comes to a close, take a look at the Presidential proclamation sent out via a press release in celebration of our country’s Indigenous peoples.

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release October 30, 2009

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The indigenous peoples of North America — the First Americans — have woven rich and diverse threads into the tapestry of our Nation’s heritage. Throughout their long history on this great land, they have faced moments of profound triumph and tragedy alike. During National Native American Heritage Month, we recognize their many accomplishments, contributions, and sacrifices, and we pay tribute to their participation in all aspects of American society.

This month, we celebrate the ancestry and time-honored traditions of American Indians and Alaska Natives in North America. They have guided our land stewardship policies, added immeasurably to our cultural heritage, and demonstrated courage in the face of adversity. From the American Revolution to combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, they have fought valiantly in defense of our Nation as dedicated servicemen and women. Their native languages have also played a pivotal role on the battlefield. During World Wars I and II, Native American code talkers developed unbreakable codes to communicate military messages that saved countless lives. Native Americans have distinguished themselves as inventors, entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders, and scholars. Our debt to our First Americans is immense, as is our responsibility to ensure their fair, equal treatment and honor the commitments we made to their forebears.

The Native American community today faces huge challenges that have been ignored by our Government for too long. To help address this disparity, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocates more than $3 billion to help these communities deal with their most pressing needs. In the Fiscal Year 2010 budget, my Administration has proposed over $17 billion for programs carried out by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service, and other Federal agencies that have a critical role to play in improving the lives of Native Americans. These programs will increase educational opportunities, address the scourge of alcohol abuse and domestic violence, promote economic development, and provide access to comprehensive, accessible, and affordable health care. While funding increases do not make up for past deficiencies, they do reflect our determination to honor tribal sovereignty and ensure continued progress on reservations across America.

As we seek to build on and strengthen our nation-to-nation relationship, my Administration is committed to ensuring tribal communities have a meaningful voice in our national policy debates as we confront the challenges facing all Americans. We will continue this constructive dialogue at the White House Tribal Nations Conference held in Washington, D.C., this month. Native American voices have echoed through the mountains, valleys, and plains of our country for thousands of years, and it is now our time to listen.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2009 as National Native American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities, and to celebrate November 27, 2009, as Native American Heritage Day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.



Senate on Indian Affairs Committee to Consider Bill to Recognize Virginia Tribes

My cousin Steve Adkins speaking before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
My cousin Steve Adkins speaking before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

I’ve taken a short break from posting because I’ve been busy studying for the GRE exam in addition to working and taking a French class. But, I couldn’t help myself from mentioning that today the Senate on Indian Affairs committee is voting on S. 1178, legislation to extend federal recognition to six Virginia tribes: the Chickahominy Indian Tribe (my tribe), the Chicahominy Indian Tribe-Eastern Division, the Upper Mattaponi Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe, Inc. the Monacan Indian Nation, and the Nansemond Indian Tribe. The committee is also voting on S. 1735, which would extend federal recognition to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. I am thinking good thoughts and sending positive vibes to the committee and to my cousin, Steve Adkins, the Chief of our tribe. We deserve this…it is owed to us…now do the right thing! We were the “first to welcome” and are (one of) the “last to be recognized.” If you want to know more about our fight for federal recognition and why the battle has taken so long, go here and read about Walter Ashby Plecker and the Racial Integrity Act of 1924.

Photoshoot with Adam Bouska – NOH8 Campaign

Post Adam Bouska NOH8 photo shoot - NativeJournalist
Post Adam Bouska NOH8 photo shoot - NativeJournalist

Hey, ya’ll! Well, today was an eventful day! Today I had the honor of being photographed by an amazing photographer and political activist, Adam Bouska, for his NOH8 campaign in his studio in North Hollywood. I kinda brought a Native touch to the studio with my favorite beaded earrings…I wanted to represent! 🙂 I was so excited at the chance to participate in such an awesome artistic movement! What I appreciate most about the NOH8 campaign is that while not everyone is the phone banking, canvasing, or donation-asking type, everyone can get involved in some way to make a difference. Adam uses his amaaaazing photography (and editing) abilities to bring together people from all walks of life who believe in equality and make a statement. By posing for Adam with my NOH8 temporary tattoo on my face, I was taking a stand (as small as it may seem) and yelling, “I support equal rights for ALL people!” So, thank you Adam for giving me the opportunity to model for you and THANK YOU to Grace Chun for doing such an awesome job on my makeup! (Definitely contact her if you want a talented artist for a future project of any kind! She’s a wonder woman with a brush!)

Interesting article about the Title 1X Educational Amendments Act

I apologize for not posting in a while. I have been studying for the GRE and preparing my applications for graduate school. I have also been doing a lot of traveling…which I will fill you in on in the coming weeks! Thus, I have not had much time to blog. :-/ I promise I will get back to it as soon as things calm down a little in my life. 🙂

In the meantime, check out this article I found today. Here’s an excerpt:

Native Americans can take pride that Tennis icon Billie Jean King, a Cherokee, and Ted Kennedy, descendant of an honorary Iroquois Chief, did wonders to create equal opportunities for girls/women in sports and education in America and abroad.

By enforcing the 1972 Title 1X Education Amendments Act, they actually helped restore those equitable traditional ways of the First Americans, which were interrupted in the last 150 years.


President Obama aims to inspire young people as the new school year begins

Obama speaking to a elementary school students
Obama takes time to speak to elementary school students

Obama will be delivering the annual Presidential Back-to-School address via webcast tomorrow at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia which will be shown in some schools across the country. You can read the text of his speech beforehand by clicking the link below. (It’s definitely worth a read! But, really, would you expect anything less from this eloquent wordsmith?)

Here’s a passage that really spoke to me:

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time.

Read the entire speech at the Wall Street Journal online.


President Clinton speaking at the opening of Netroots Nation asked about DADT and DOMA

Check out this video of President Clinton speaking at the opening of Netroots Nation. He was interrupted by attendee Lane Hudson with questions about his signing of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) and DADT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) legislation. This video shows why he was one of the greatest presidents we’ve ever had. Whether you agree with DOMA or DADT or not, it’s pretty impressive that he not only knew his stuff back when he was in office, but can still recall that information now!