Home Local News Native American Heritage Month and the National Day of Mourning Observed 

Native American Heritage Month and the National Day of Mourning Observed 

by Cass Teague
The 2021 National Day of Mourning at Cole’s Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts. (courtesy uaine.org)

November was officially designated as National American Indian Heritage Month on August 3, 1990. It is now commonly referred to as Native American Heritage Month. This commemorative month aims to provide a platform for Native people in the United States of America to share their culture, traditions, music, crafts, dance, and ways and concepts of life. 

Native American Heritage Day is officially a civil holiday observed on the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. This year’s observance is Friday, November 25, 2022. The Native American Heritage Day Bill, supported by the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) and 184 federally recognized tribes, designated a day to pay tribute to Native Americans for their many contributions to the United States. 

The Native American Heritage Day Bill encourages Americans of all backgrounds to observe Native American Heritage Day, through appropriate ceremonies and activities. It also encourages public elementary and secondary schools to enhance student understanding of Native Americans by providing classroom instructions focusing on their history, achievements, and contributions. 

This gives Native people the opportunity to express to their community, both city, county, and state officials their concerns and solutions for building bridges of understanding and friendship in their local area. Federal Agencies are encouraged to provide educational programs for their employees regarding Native American history, rights, culture and contemporary issues, to better assist them in their jobs and for overall awareness. 

Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands and the erasure of Native cultures. Since 1970, Indigenous people & their allies have gathered at noon on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US Thanksgiving holiday. Many Native people do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims & other European settlers. 

Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Indigenous ancestors and Native resilience. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection, as well as a protest against the racism and oppression that Indigenous people continue to experience worldwide. 

The 53rd Annual National Day of Mourning was Thursday, November 24, 2022, beginning at 12:00 Noon at Cole’s Hill, Plymouth, MA. Following the live event in Plymouth, you can watch the National Day of Mourning livestream anytime. It was livestreamed from the UAINE.org website beginning at 12 noon EST / 11:00 AM Central time, on November 24, but can be viewed on the United American Indians of New England website: http://www.uaine.org/  The livestream link will be found there. 

Locally, the Native American Indian Association (NAIA) is a service agency for Indians residing in Tennessee. It is a private non-profit agency established in 1980 to help improve the quality of life for Native American people in the state. To raise the level of consciousness of the non-Indian population in the state of Tennessee to a fuller awareness of the past history and current status of Native American Indians by sponsoring, promoting and conducting seminars, institutes, education programs and public information activities. Learn more at:https://naiatn.org/  

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