Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Native Americans have historically been mistreated by colonizers and not given the recognition they deserve. In an attempt to acknowledge the hardships and injustices shown to the indigenous people of the United States, former President Barack Obama designated Nov. 27, 2009, to be the first Native American Heritage Day. With this action, and the call to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, indigenous people are beginning to receive more recognition for what they’ve been through.
On this day, schools are encouraged to enhance student understanding of Native American tribes and history, and citizens are welcomed to celebrate through ceremonies and activities. Indigenous people celebrate Native American Heritage Day by sharing stories and meals as well as visiting historic native sites. This holiday takes place annually the day after Thanksgiving, coinciding with Black Friday. Most employers give their workers the day off for Black Friday, neglecting the legitimate holiday many may celebrate. The indigenous peoples of our nation should be celebrated for their strength and honored for their sacrifices that have made our country what it is today.
According to researchers from the National Academy of Science, the Native American population has decreased by about 90% since the arrival of colonizers in the 1600s. As citizens of the United States, it is important to recognize the culture and traditions of those indigenous to the U.S., so be sure to celebrate your native friends, family and neighbors on Nov. 27.
By Rae Hargis, Staff Writer