Trump administration issues Native American Heritage Month proclamation

President Donald Trump issued the first Native American Heritage Month proclamation of his administration on Tuesday, Oct. 31, recognizing the month of November as a time to honor the heritage of the country’s indigenous peoples.

“American Indians and Alaska Natives are inextricably linked with the history of the United States,” the proclamation states. “Beginning with the Pilgrims’ arrival at Plymouth Colony and continuing until the present day, Native Americans’ contributions are woven deeply into our nation’s rich tapestry. During National Native American Heritage Month, we honor and celebrate the first Americans and recognize their contributions and sacrifices.

“Native Americans have influenced every stage of America’s development. They helped early European settlers survive and thrive in a new land. They contributed democratic ideas to our constitutional framers. And, for more than 200 years, they have bravely answered the call to defend our nation, serving with distinction in every branch of the United States Armed Forces. The nation is grateful for the service and sacrifice of all American Indians and Alaska Natives.

“My administration is committed to Tribal sovereignty and self-determination. A great nation keeps its word, and this administration will continue to uphold and defend its responsibilities to American Indians and Alaska Natives. The United States is stronger when Indian Country is healthy and prosperous. As part of our efforts to strengthen American Indian and Alaska Native communities, my administration is reviewing regulations that may impose unnecessary costs and burdens. This aggressive regulatory reform, and a focus on government-to-government consultation, will help revitalize our nation’s commitment to Indian Country.

“In addition to adopting policies to enhance economic well-being of Native American communities, my administration will always come to the aid of Native American people in times of crisis. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, I signed the first Presidential Emergency Declaration for a Tribal nation. We will ensure the Seminole Tribe of Florida has access to the resources it needs to rebuild. As part of our American family, Native Americans will never be left behind under this administration. Together, we will strengthen the relationship between the United States government and Native Americans.

“Native Americans are a testament to the deep importance of culture and vibrancy of traditions, passed down throughout generations. This month, I encourage all of our citizens to learn about the rich history and culture of the Native American people.”

The proclamation also calls on Americans to celebrate Saturday, Nov. 25, as Native American Heritage Day.

The White House Press Office said via e-mail on Tuesday, Nov. 7, that the Trump administration has not decided whether it will continue the White House Tribal Nations Conferences, which the Obama administration held for eight consecutive years.

“We’ll let you know once we have an official announcement,” said Kelly Love, senior assistant White House press secretary.

Oregon Tribes also are leery of the Trump administration following the recent decision of the Army Corps of Engineers to renege on providing $1.6 million requested to finish planning for much-needed Tribal homes near The Dalles.

The decision to end the funding was made by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.

“It was a disgraceful decision that amounts to a double double-cross,” The Oregonian stated in a Nov. 5 editorial.