November 15, 2019


Since 1990 the month of November has been federally recognized as National American Indian Heritage month and commonly referred to as Native American Heritage Month. However you refer to it, it is a uniquely specific time of the year.

It is not a coincidence that this recognition coincides with Veterans Day. It is well documented the unequaled commitment to the Armed Services per capita of the First Nations peoples. Recently, I had the distinct honor to attend the Veterans Day Service at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. As I spent time walking amongst the World War II Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and the Vietnam War Memorial, it was humbling to consider the commitment and sacrifice of so many native and non-native men and women to this country. Personally, my paternal Grandfather was combat wounded on Armistice Day.

So many things take place during the month of November; We take a day to remember and honor our veterans; We take a day to give thanks for the blessings in our lives. It seems a natural transition to honor the heritage of our own people in our own ways. Even this week, at the Civic Center here in Miami, through the Inter-Tribal Council and the support of numerous local tribes, including our own, elementary students from eight local school districts were able to see exhibition dancing, see artifacts, play games and hear stories. It was exciting to see that generation interact with our respective cultural ways and traditions.

While attending the November Inter-Tribal Council meeting, a representative from a park service in Ohio was present. As she explained the nature of her visit, I found it no surprise that it again tied directly to our story and our heritage. She shared that the scope of her work was to help present the Native American perspective of military movements and engagements from the late 1700’s that involved our tribes. It was easy to envision us fighting alongside many of the same tribes that we call neighbors still to this day. I would call it a great coincidence that this meeting happened during this month focused on our heritage, but I don’t believe in them.

In closing, Thank you. Thank you to our citizens who continue to promote our ways. Thank you to our citizens who attend our events and meetings and stop by the Office to do business and visit. Thank you to our citizens who have called into the office. Thank you to our citizens who watch our web and social media pages for news and updates.

Have a great Heritage month and Fall season. We look forward to seeing all who attend the Children’s Christmas Party and begin to look ahead to the March General Council Meeting.

Be Well.

Craig Harper