National American Indian Heritage Month proclamation

By the President of the United States of America

          The strength of our Nation comes from its people. As the early  inhabitants of this great land, the native peoples of North America  played a unique role in the shaping of our Nation's history and culture.  During this month when we celebrate Thanksgiving, we especially  celebrate their heritage and the contributions of American Indian and  Alaska Native peoples to this Nation.

          Since our Nation's birth, pluralism and diversity have been hallmarks of  the American experience and success. In 1782, the Founding Fathers  chose as our national motto "E Pluribus Unum," which means "out of many,  one." Today, America's unity, derived from a mix of many diverse  cultures and people, grandly embodies the vision expressed by our  Founders. American Indian and Alaska Native cultures have made  remarkable contributions to our national identity. Their unique  spiritual, artistic, and literary contributions, together with their  vibrant customs and celebrations, enliven and enrich our land.

          As we move into the 21st century, American Indians and Alaska Natives  will play a vital role in maintaining our Nation's strength and  prosperity. Almost half of America's Native American tribal leaders  have served in the United States Armed Forces, following in the  footsteps of their forebears who distinguished themselves during the  World Wars and the conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf.

          Their patriotism again appeared after the September 11 attacks, as  American Indian law enforcement officers volunteered to serve in air  marshal programs. On the local level, American Indians and Alaska  Natives are strengthening their communities through education and  business development, opening the doors to opportunity, and contributing  to a brighter future for all.

          My Administration will continue to work with tribal governments on a  sovereign to sovereign basis to provide Native Americans with new  economic and educational opportunities. Indian education programs will  remain a priority, so that no American child, including no Native  American child, is left behind. We will protect and honor tribal  sovereignty and help to stimulate economic development in reservation  communities. We will work with the American Indians and Alaska Natives  to preserve their freedoms, as they practice their religion and culture.

          During National American Indian Heritage Month, I call on all Americans  to learn more about the history and heritage of the Native peoples of  this great land. Such actions reaffirm our appreciation and respect for  their traditions and way of life and can help to preserve an important  part of our culture for generations yet to come.

          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 2001 as National  American Indian Heritage Month. I call upon the people of the United  States to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.

          IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of  November, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the  Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and  twenty-sixth.


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