Andrew Avenue Celebrates Our Cultural Diversity
About Native American Heritage Month
Information courtesy of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S.
Department of the Interior
What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a
day of recognition for the significant contributions the first
Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has
resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.
One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr.
Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the
Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy
Scouts of America to set aside a day for the "First Americans" and
for three years they adopted such a day. 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 year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a
Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking
approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he
presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White
House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being
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. In Illinois, for
example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several
states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it
continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a
national legal holiday.
In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution
designating November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage
Month." 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.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
About National Hispanic Heritage Month
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month
from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories,
cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors
came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under
President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald
Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15
and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17,
1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the
anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa
Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition,
Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16
and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de
la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.
German Heritage MonthPolish Heritage Month