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indigenous issues | neighborhood news

Is your town doing anything to honor American Indians?

This month in Miami Florida, articles & activities are being published (in the Miami Herald) for Black Americans; the same held true for Hispanics. But in November 2006, where Americans should have been honored, they were not. Will Miami (and your town) do nothing again?
In November of 2006, I did nothing but take notes on what my community was doing. I was disappointed. The following chronicles my efforts (and that of my fellow American Indian friends) in making my community accountable.

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The following email is a letter that was addressed to the Miami Herald (I address to you because it is indicative of what the whole community of Miami did or did not do); but it also touches upon what role the government did or did not play - it was also sent out to the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, Ocean Bank, Senator Mel Martinez, Commissioner Barreiro and other businesses and private citizens.

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To Whom it May Concern:

After searching your archives, I have seen a great effort to reach out to the community in regards ethnic pride. For example, during Black American Month, everyday you did (or have done) a feature article on black history and pride; the same holds true in representing hispanics. However, during November 2006, which was "American Indian Awareness Month" I could not find feature articles on a daily basis.

It wasn't just you, during 2006's "American Indian Heritage Month, I scoured the press and searched and searched, only to find (I being only one man) last years "American Indian Heritage Month", in this city of Miami, did virtually nothing besides through my business and the Dept of Veterans Affairs.

That's it, nothing was done by the Miami-Dade library system, the city of Miami, the Miami Herald, no business in Miami, no private citizens, nothing for the public at large, almost no television or radio coverage..the list goes on and on.

The confusion might be that when you see people on the streets, you see black, white, hispanic or other; but in not seeing clear American Indian features, this might indicate that they do not exist or make up a significant portion of the population.

As you well know, many Americans have mixed blood from many countries. And first generation, second generations, etc ...American citizens have unique blood mixtures. Let me illustrate my point; whilst giving a lecture, I asked the audience how many of them thought they had some American Indian blood in them & I got a significant number of hands. The days of persons being 100% white, 100% black, 100% Hispanic or 100% American Indian are dwindling. We are becoming a melting pot.

The reasons vary greatly, however older and current history can shed more light on this subject. Just as many slave owners raped black women, so did many 'cruel persons' rape American Indian women during the worst fighting of the Indian Wars of the 1800's. You might think this is ancient history, but consider this. It was estimated, some time after the discovery America in 1492, that the population of American Indian Nations, tribes and clans was 6 to 9 million. In the 1900's, the figure was about 250,000, with the annihilation of whole Nations.

I could digress further into negative events, but I choose here to stop and assist you with a hopeful message.

Positive contributions include the Navajo code talkers during WW2, the Iroquois Federation, and Thanksgiving Day. And so what I suggest is not dwelling on the past, but focusing your efforts on a positive image and education of American Indians.

As a citizen and member of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, I would like to know, what is your organization (whether media, political and private citizen or business) opinion on this subject matter? And, if you could, what would you do?

Again, please don't dwell on atrocities or sympathies, but focus on a positive image and think about what traditional or non-traditional education could do.

To give you an outlet, I'm providing 3 links that suggest what direction you may take:

The first is what a community has done to honor Native Americans in the past

 http://www2.ihs.gov/heritage/Heritage2000/FESTIVAL%20FLIER%20Nov18.pdf


Second, is a more specific plan, more suited to Miami

It is dubbed, "A Native American Gathering"

www.anativeamericangathering.com


Lastly, this is a link from the White House proclaiming "American Indian Heritage Awareness" Month in November.

 http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/20061030-16.html

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This letter is a response from the News Calendar of the Miami dated March 2, 2006

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Dear Old Hand:

I'm sorry we did not publish any events during American Indian Awareness Month. We would certainly have liked to have done so. We are entirely dependent on people sending us news of their events so we can post. I don't remember receiving anything from anyone or any organization.

Again, I apologize. By all means, send us anything you know about events about this group of Americans in South Florida and I promise you we will run them. I do know we have published some pow-wow notices.

Thanks for writing,

Sue Mullin

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So people of these United States, what is your community doing or not doing to honor American Indians during "American Indian Heritage Month" in November 2007? (because NOW IS THE TIME TO PLAN).

Now if your neighborhood doing nothing, how hard is it to make a few phone calls to generate some interest?



I am motivated and at your service,

Old Hand

homepage: homepage: http://www.anativeamericangathering.com


No 03.Mar.2007 09:24

Anon

Not a thing. Sorry.

What's With the Wording? 03.Mar.2007 11:47

North Portlander

Why is it being called "American Indian Heritage Month" and not "Native American Heritage Month"?

saveee 03.Mar.2007 16:00

r

i m african american , and i saved a native man from lynching, but no one of ANY race was there to help me when i was harassed many times. but yes, ALL races need to WAKE UP

peace to all 04.Mar.2007 01:28

Altay

peace especially to those oppressed who speak the Altaic languages from cascadia to the Altay mtns

can't change 04.Mar.2007 10:54

what didn't happen

but a request for stories, letters to go across the usa native and indy sites about the second week in October, 2007 encouraging them to deluge local newspapers, radio and television with a blitz of awareness may trigger the beginning of moving towards educating people - and there is no harm in drafting them between now and then - giving people ample time to prepare thought provoking pieces for a target date of November 1st for the blitz

if people started now and prepared 4 submissions, a blitz could occur once a week in November providing more than ample material