National American Indian Heritage
By the President of the United States of America
|During American Indian Heritage Month,
we celebrate the rich cultural traditions and proud ancestry
of American Indians and Alaska Natives, and we recognize the
vital contributions these groups have made to the strength and
diversity of our society.
American Indians and Alaska Natives have played a central role
in our history. In 1805 and 1806, Sakajawea, a Shoshone Indian
woman, helped guide Lewis and Clark on their historic expedition
to explore the uncharted West. This remarkable journey, known
as the "Voyage of Discovery," would not have been
possible without her efforts, and today she remains a proud
symbol of American Indian courage and strength.
We are also grateful to the Navajo Codetalkers for their service
during World War II. Participating in every assault the U.S.
Marines conducted in the Pacific from 1942-1945, the Navajo
Codetalkers relayed secret messages that helped our Nation and
the allies secure victory. The Congress recognized these heroes
by authorizing the President to award them Congressional Gold
Medals, which I was honored to present last year. These examples
of our true American spirit reflect our shared history and serve
as reminders of the unique heritage of American Indians and
Alaska Natives. Upon its completion on the National Mall, the
Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian
will help educate all Americans about the lives, contributions,
and culture of our Native peoples.
Education is essential to the future success of tribal communities.
We will work together to ensure that our Indian education programs
offer high-quality instruction and job training that contribute
to the vitality of our Native American communities. We will
also work to maintain the legacy of American Indians and Alaska
Natives by preserving irreplaceable languages and cultural traditions.
To enhance our efforts to help Indian nations be self-governing,
self-supporting, and self-reliant, my Administration will continue
to honor tribal sovereignty by working on a government-to-government
basis with American Indians and Alaska Natives. We will honor
the rights of Indian tribes and work to protect and enhance
My Administration is working to increase employment and expand
economic opportunities for all Native Americans. Several Federal
agencies recently participated in the National Summit on Emerging
Tribal Economies to help us accomplish this goal. In order to
build upon this effort, my Administration will work to promote
cooperation and coordination among Federal agencies for the
purpose of fostering greater economic development of tribal
communities. By working together on important economic initiatives,
we will strengthen America by building a future of hope and
promise for all Native Americans.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States
of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution
and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2002
as National American Indian Heritage Month. I call upon all
Americans to commemorate this month with appropriate programs
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day
of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand two, and of
the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred
GEORGE W. BUSH