November is Native American Heritage Month


Category:  News & Politics

By:  john-russell  •  4 weeks ago  •  21 comments

November is Native American Heritage Month


Native American Heritage Month

Here in the Volcanic Tablelands near Bishop, California, is Sky Rock, a set of ancient petroglyphs that face the heavens. The volcanic rock formations of this area have made it a premier rock-climbing destination. But long before sport climbers flocked here, it was (and still is) home to the Paiute-Shoshone peoples, who are thought to have created these petroglyphs and many others throughout the tablelands.

We're featuring the image in honor of Native American Heritage Month, which is observed each November. The commemorative month celebrates the contributions of Native Americans to our national culture. In honor of the event, we invite you to learn more about Indigenous people in your region. Consider reading a book by a Native American author, supporting a Native-owned business or charity, or visiting a reservation or museum.


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1  author  JohnRussell    4 weeks ago
Speech of Chief  Red Jacket ,  1805
from the book The Wisdom Of Native Americans
 New World Library 
edited by Kent Nerburn 
The speech quoted here was given in the summer of 1805. Its occasion was a meeting of the assembled chiefs of the Iroquois federation. They had gathered in council to hear the request of a young missionary named Cram, who had been sent among them by the Evangelical Missionary Society of Massachusetts. This society had sent missionaries before, and had met with some success. But the Indians apparently had not taken as fully to Christianity as the society had hoped. The society now hoped to establish Cram among the Iroquois so as to further their education in the Christian religion. Cram spoke briefly, requesting only the right to follow up on the interest that certain of the Indians had shown in the Christian religion. After hearing him, the chiefs consulted for about two hours. Then Red Jacket rose and spoke. 
Friend and brother, it was the will of the Great Spirit that we should meet together this day. He orders all things, and He has given us a fine day for our council. He has taken his garment from before the sun and has caused it to shine with brightness upon us. Our eyes are opened so that we see clearly. Our ears are unstopped so that we have been able to distinctly hear the words which you have spoken. For all these favors we thank the Great Spirit and Him only. Brother, this council fire was kindled by you. It was at your request that we came together at this time. We have listened with attention to what you have said. You have requested us to speak our minds freely. This gives us great joy, for we now consider that we stand upright before you, and can speak what we think. All have heard your voice and all speak to you now as one man. Our minds are agreed. Brother, you say that you want an answer to your talk before you leave this place. It is right that you should have one, as you are a great distance from home, and we do not wish to detain you. But we will first look back a little, and tell you what our fathers have told us, and what we have heard from the white people. Brother, listen to what we say. There was a time when our forefathers owned this great island. [The Seneca, like many other tribes, refer to this continent as a ‘‘great island.’’] Their seats extended from the rising to the setting of the sun. The Great Spir- it had made it for the use of Indians. He had created the buffalo, the deer, and other animals for food. He had made the bear and the beaver, and their skins served us for clothing.
He had scattered them over the country, and had taught us how to take them. He had caused the earth to produce corn for bread. All this He had done for His red children because He loved them. If we had any disputes about hunting grounds, they were generally settled without the shedding of much blood. But an evil day came upon us. Your forefathers crossed the great waters and landed upon this island. Their numbers were small. They found friends and not enemies. They told us they had fled from their own country for fear of wicked men, and had come here to enjoy their religion. They asked for a small seat. We took pity on them, granted their request, and they sat down amongst us. We gave them corn and meat. They gave us poison [rum] in return. The white people, brother, had now found our country. Tidings were carried back and more came amongst us. Yet we did not fear them. We took them to be friends. They called us brothers. We believed them and gave them a larger seat. At length their numbers had greatly increased. They wanted more land. They wanted our country. Our eyes were opened, and our minds became uneasy. Wars took place. Indians were hired to fight against Indians, and many of our people were destroyed. They also brought strong liquor among us. It was strong and powerful and has slain thousands. Brother, our seats were once large, and yours were very small. You have now become a great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blankets.
You have got our country, but you are not satisfied. You want to force your religion upon us. Brother, continue to listen. You say that you are sent to instruct us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeably to His mind, and if we do not take hold of the religion which you white people teach we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say that you are right, and we are lost. How do we know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a book. If it was intended for us as well, why has not the Great Spirit given it to us; and not only to us, but why did He not give to our forefathers the knowledge of that book, with the means of understanding it rightly? We know only what you tell us about it. How shall we know when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people? Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the book? Brother, we do not understand these things. 
1.1  Gsquared  replied to  JohnRussell @1    4 weeks ago

Great.  Very interesting.

2  Kavika     4 weeks ago

It isn't all in the past, American Indians have been at the forefront of many industries. This is one, the only Native American and only women that was a member of the legendary, ''Skunk Works''.

Google Doodle Honors Little-Known Math Genius Who Helped America Reach the Stars

It’s time for Mary Golda Ross to be remembered as an aerospace pioneer

marygoldarossweb.jpg Ad Astra per Astra   by America Meredith   (National Museum of the American Indian)
MARCH 29, 2017 | UPDATED: AUGUST 9, 2018

Editor's note, August 9, 2018: In honor of today's Google Doodle recognizing the achievements of Mary Golda Ross, we're resurfacing this 2017 story about Ross.

In 1958, a woman   stumped the panelists   on “What’s My Line?” It took the actors Arlene Francis and Jack Lemmon, journalist Dorothy Kilgallen and publisher Bennet Cerf, celebrity panelists of the popular television game show, quite a while to figure out her M.O.

When they finally discovered what she did, the show’s host admitted that he, himself, was surprised by her occupation. The panel consisted of the stars of the day, but it was Mary Golda Ross who helped people reach them as the first female engineer at an elite, top-secret think tank.

Ross’s gender alone made her a hidden figure in the world of early spaceflight. But something else the panelists didn’t know about Ross was her Native American heritage.

Her great-great grandfather, John Ross, was the longest-serving chief of the Cherokee Nation. During his tenure, he   fought to preserve his nation   from white settlers’ incursions—and later was forced to lead his people along the march that became known as the Trail of Tears.

That history helped shape the trajectory of Ross’s extraordinary career. Born in 1908, Ross grew up in Park Hill, Oklahoma, the Cherokee community where her ancestor and other members of the Cherokee Nation settled after their forced removal. Despite her ancestral roots and the fact that her father spoke the Cherokee language, her family downplayed her cultural heritage.

maryrossweb.jpg A mentor to others, Mary Ross (above, in 1993 presenting a Society of Women Engineers certificate to Akiko Inoue) was reluctant to accept awards and when she did, she made sure to credit her coworkers.   (Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University)

Only later in life did she reconnect with her Native American roots, mentoring and supporting others in her field and calling attention to her heritage. In 2004, Ross was there to usher in a new era—that of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Wearing ancestral dress, she walked in the procession of Native peoples that opened the museum, and  left a bequest  of more than $400,000 to the museum upon her death in 2008. 

After graduating from Northeastern State College with a math degree, she decided to put her skills to work on behalf of other Native Americans, working first as a statistician for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and then at a Native American boarding school in New Mexico. 

Math always called Ross’s name, and in 1942, armed with a master’s degree, she joined Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. As World War II raged, the company was working on new military aircraft. Ross helped them troubleshoot the P-38 Lightning, a fighter plane that came close to breaking the sound barrier and that engineers worried would collapse during dives. (Thanks to the work of Ross and her fellow mathematicians and engineers, Lockheed eventually realized that their fears were unfounded.) 

After the war ended, Lockheed sent Ross to UCLA to earn a classification in aeronautical engineering and slowly, she began to progress through the company’s male-dominated ranks. “She worked with a lot of guys with slide rules and pocket protectors,” says Jeff Rhodes, Lockheed Martin’s historian and the editor of  Code One  magazine . “The stereotype was real.” 

Women had always been a part of Lockheed Martin, says Rhodes. Nonetheless, when Ross was recruited to join  Skunk Works , the company’s then-top-secret think tank, she was the only woman aside from the secretary. 

But Ross was undaunted—and exhilarated by the chance to use her mathematic and engineering skills to make theory into reality. “I was the pencil pusher, doing a lot of research,” she told an interviewer in 1994. “My state of the art tools were a slide rule and a Friden computer.” 

The tools of the trade may have been primitive, but Ross’s sharp intellect quickly earned the respect of her male colleagues. “I would unhesitatingly place her in the top 10% of engineers of my acquaintance,”  wrote a colleague  in the 1960s. “She was just one of the guys,” another  told Indian Country Media Network’s Kara Briggs  in 2008. “She was as smart as the rest of them and she held her own.” 

Ross had a heavy-duty workload in the chilliest part of the Cold War and, like so many other aerospace engineers of her day, set to work turning a career in aviation to one in space technology. “The space race came right on the heels of the missile race,”  says Michael Neufeld , a curator of space history at the National Air and Space Museum, home to an Agena B—a spacecraft that shot the United States’  secret CORONA spy satellite  into orbit—and on view at the museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Spaceflight made use of missile advances originally developed for military purposes—like the Agena. Ross helped develop operational requirements for the spacecraft, which later became a vital part of the Apollo program. Over the years, she helped write NASA’s Planetary Flight Handbook, the agency’s comprehensive guide to space travel, and worked on preliminary concepts for flights to Mars and Venus, laying the groundwork for missions that haven’t yet come to fruition. 

Much of Ross’s work will never be known because it was—and still is—classified. This frustrated the engineer, who couldn’t answer questions on “What’s My Line?” about some aspects of her work and  who later told an interviewer  that her work with NASA “was a lot more fun since you could talk about it.” But Ross’s own diffidence and her belief in collaboration also kept her work in the shadows. She was reluctant to accept awards and when she did, she made sure to credit her coworkers. 

That didn’t stop her from occasionally claiming the spotlight. Today, Ross’ legacy is a bit less secretive. Her face graces  a sculpture at Buffalo State College  and  a painting by Cherokee artist America Meredith  that shows her against a starry, rocket-filled sky is now in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Entitled  Ad Astra per Astra,  meaning to the stars from the stars (a play on the Latin phrase " per aspera ad astra   "), references a Cherokee origin story of how humans arrived on Earth from the Pleiades. Packed with symbolism—a seven-pointed star references the Seven Sisters constellation, the seven clans of the Cherokee and the seven directions in Cherokee cosmology—the portrait also includes a depiction of the Agena spacecraft. 

But viewers have to judge which of her legacies is larger:  the Agena-B on display  at the Smithsonian or the generations of women who have now tread the road she paved as one of her industry’s first female—and Native American—pioneers. 

Ms Ross is the great great granddaugher of Chief John Ross of the Cherokee Nation during one of the most turbulent times in their history. 

Ms. Ross was followed by others most notably John Herrington, A stronaut of the Chickasaw tribe.

2.1  Gsquared  replied to  Kavika @2    4 weeks ago

Awesome!  Thank you for informing us about Ms. Ross, Kavika.

Raven Wing
2.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @2    4 weeks ago

Thanks for sharing such an interesting, informative and enlightening article, Kavika. I heard about Ms Ross some time ago and her great achievements in the aeronautical industry, as well as her many great contributions to the Cherokee Nation. Her story once again proves that not all Native Americans are nothing but drunks, drug addicts and lazy good for nothings as they have been claimed to be by those who are ignorant of and biased against Native Americans. 

As a Cherokee, I find great pride in what she has done for our country, and our people.

3  Gsquared    4 weeks ago

This is a very interesting and important article.  We cannot do enough to honor the heritage and contributions of our Native American brothers and sisters.

3.1  Jasper2529  replied to  Gsquared @3    4 weeks ago
We cannot do enough to honor the heritage and contributions of our Native American brothers and sisters.

Very true!

3.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Jasper2529 @3.1    4 weeks ago

President George H.W. Bush approves on August 3 House Joint Resolution 577 (Pub. L. 101-343) designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” He issues Proclamation 6230 on November 14, 1990.

3.1.2  Jasper2529  replied to  Kavika @3.1.1    4 weeks ago

That's great! We should all be happy that President Trump is following Bush 41's proclamation!

3.1.3  1stwarrior  replied to  Jasper2529 @3.1.2    4 weeks ago

This proclamation is much different than last year's - actually shows some positive forward steps.

3.1.4  Tacos!  replied to  Jasper2529 @3.1    4 weeks ago

In light of this, doesn't it seem like the various locations that want to have a Native American Day should have it in November, not October?

3.1.5  1stwarrior  replied to  Tacos! @3.1.4    4 weeks ago

The guides listed below provide commentary and recommended resources for selected national observances and commemorative months.

  • African American History Month   (February)
    National African American History Month in February celebrates the contributions that African Americans have made to American history in their struggles for freedom and equality and deepens our understanding of our Nation's history.
  • American Indian Heritage Month   (November)
    National American Indian Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of the peoples who were the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of the United States.
  • Asian Pacific Heritage Month   (May)
    Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month is a month to celebrate the contributions Asian/Pacific Americans have made to American history, society and culture.
  • Constitution Day and Citizenship Day   (September 17)
    Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is observed each year on September 17 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787 and “recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.”
  • Human Rights Day   (December 10)
    Human Rights Day is observed each year to commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948.
  • Irish-American Heritage Month   (March)
    Irish-American Heritage Month is a month to celebrate the contributions which Irish-Americans have made to the United States.
  • Jewish American Heritage Month   (May)
    Jewish American Heritage Month is a month to celebrate the contributions Jewish Americans have made to America since they first arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654.
  • Law Day   (May 1)
    Law Day is a national day to celebrate the rule of law and its contributions to the freedoms Americans enjoy.
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month   (June)
    Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month commemorates the events of June 1969 and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for LGBTQ Americans.
  • National Disability Employment Awareness Month   (October)
    National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebrates the accomplishments in the workplace of persons with disabilities and reaffirms the commitment to ensuring equal employment opportunities to all citizens.
  • National Hispanic Heritage Month   (September 15 - October 15)
    National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to American society and culture and to honor five of our Central American neighbors who celebrate their Independence days in September.
  • Women's History Month   (March)
    Women’s History Month honors and celebrates the struggles and achievements of American women throughout the history of the United States.

3.1.6  Jasper2529  replied to  1stwarrior @3.1.3    3 weeks ago

Your link is the same one I posted in comment 3.1 .  

3.1.7  1stwarrior  replied to  Jasper2529 @3.1.6    3 weeks ago

Oops - great minds???

3.1.8  Jasper2529  replied to  1stwarrior @3.1.7    3 weeks ago

Yours is far more knowledgeable on this topic!  jrSmiley_34_smiley_image.gif

3.2  1stwarrior  replied to  Gsquared @3    4 weeks ago

Thank you John for posting this.

I’d like to give you a little information about American Indians.  First, some facts – there are approximately 10.1 million American Indians in the U.S. today, less than 1% of our total population.  There are 574 federally recognized and 232 state recognized tribes.  22% of American Indians live on 314 reservations and trust lands.  The smallest tribal population is one and the largest is about 308,000 (2010 census).

            American Indians are a proud and wise people.  The U.S. Constitution was modeled after the governing body of the Iroquois Confederacy.  Benjamin Franklin and members of the Continental Congress actively sought the advice and counsel of American Indian leaders.  American Indians have been a part of the U.S. Armed Forces since the incorporation of the militia in 1736.  They have fought along the sides of non-Indians throughout the United States long history.     During the Civil War, the 3rd Indian Regiment was one of the most distinguished and the last to quit fighting.  General’s George Crook, Douglas H. Cooper and Stand Watie were American Indians who distinguished themselves in the Civil War.

            In World War I, 17,000 American Indians volunteered to serve but only 8,000 were selected, and the Choctaw and Comanche Code Talkers were first used. 

            During World War II, American Indians won 71 Air Medals, 51 Silver Stars, 47 Bronze Stars, 34 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and two Medals of Honor.  The 158th Indian Regiment was one of the most highly decorated combat units of the war.

            Maj. Gen. Clarence L. Tinker, who Tinker AFB, Okla. was named after, was born in the Osage Nation in Oklahoma.  During WWII, he was placed in charge of the Hawaiian Department of the Army Air Corps.  Shortly after the battle of Midway, on June 6, 1942, he led a squadron of LB-30 bombers from Hickam Field to Midway Island.  From there, the planes flew to Wake Island, but Tinker’s plane never made it.  For leading that dangerous mission, Tinker was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

            Many are familiar with American Indian warriors who fought against the U.S. Government in the so-called “Indian Wars”, such as Sitting Bull, Geronimo, and Crazy Horse.  As testimony to their proud “warrior” legacy, 27 American Indians have won the Medal of Honor.

            Marine Private 1st Class Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian, may be the most famous American Indian to wear the uniform.  In February 1945, he landed as part of the 5th Marine Division assault on Iwo Jima and took part in the attack on Mount Suribachi.  In the midst of heavy enemy fire, Hayes and five other Marines raised the U.S. flag on the peak of Mount Suribachi.  A photographer caught the image on film for one of the most recognized war photographs ever taken.

            Tinker’s and Hayes’ bravery is an example of the way thousands of American Indians have served this nation in the many wars and conflicts of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.  American Indians have also made positive contributions in areas such as sports, politics, agriculture and science.  But the proud legacy of the American Indian is something all of us associated with the military can relate to.

            41,500 American Indians served in Vietnam, and Billy Walkabout, a Cherokee, won the Distinguished Service Cross, six Silver Stars, six Bronze Stars, and was wounded six times.  3,000 American Indians served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and three of them died in action.

            The “warriors” heroism and celebrity spark interest and concern about American Indian issues.  But, who are we and why are we called “American Indians”?  We’re descendants of peoples who have been on this land for over 50,000 years.  Over 600 tribes remain today.  Today, over 10 million American Indians live in the United States.  Many of us live on reservations made up of land retained under treaties after our territory was ceded to the U.S. Government.

            While interaction with settlers and explorers proved in many ways detrimental to American Indians, early contacts between the two cultures were helpful to both.  For example:

            The American Indians eagerly accepted guns, knives and iron tools.

            Early fur traders were fed and sheltered by friendly American Indians.

            Spanish explorers, such as Cortez, de Soto, and Ponce de Leon introduced many tribes to the horse, which revolutionized buffalo hunting, and provided a quicker means of travel.

            American Indians introduced settlers to valuable new crops, crops which presently make up 60% of today’s food consumption.

            As time went on, cooperation turned into bitter conflict.  By the 1880’s, most of the American Indian tribes had been forced to settle on reservations situation in locations of the U.S. which were totally barren and uninhabitable, as a “reward” for ceding their land to the Europeans.  Today, American Indians struggle to maintain our own cultures and traditions while learning how to live in mainstream America.

            American Indians are unique.  Today, many people are discovering the values and contributions of America’s original peoples.  Our hope is that you will better understand and appreciate the uniqueness, contributions, pride, and honor of the American Indians.

            We have a proud history and helped build this country in spite of having our own culture and traditions virtually destroyed.  All Americans can learn about the value of hard, work, family values, patriotism and harmony with the land from American Indians.

            Our history is American history.

4  Dulay    4 weeks ago

Here is something I have been looking into:

4.1  Kavika   replied to  Dulay @4    4 weeks ago

This fund is well worth supporting. Tatanka is the Lakota word for Buffalo. 

4.1.1  Dulay  replied to  Kavika @4.1    4 weeks ago

I agree. I have donated to Pine Ridge over the years. Usually during the winter through the Wood Program and one year when I was flush I donated a wood stove. 

Raven Wing
4.1.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Dulay @4.1.1    4 weeks ago

Thank you Dulay. Your care and generous donations are truly appreciated. 

4.1.3  Dulay  replied to  Raven Wing @4.1.2    4 weeks ago

It was during some unusually harsh winters up there and I was making bank at the time. It was the least I could do. Wish I could have done more then and now. 


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