By Marianne Malizia
- Secretary of the Air Force Office of Diversity and Inclusion
ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) —
On Nov. 8 from 1-3 p.m. EST in the Pentagon Courtyard in Arlington, Virginia, a joint National American Indian Heritage Month celebration is scheduled to take place.
The event is organized by the Indigenous Nations Equality Team, or INET, and is one of the seven Department of the Air Force Barrier Analysis Working Group teams, the Air Force Protection Agency and the Department of the Army hosting the event.
National American Indian Heritage Month is observed Nov. 1-30 annually. The observance month recognizes the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories of American Indians and Alaskan Natives and honors their many distinct and important contributions to the United States.
American Indians and Alaskan Natives have served with valor in the nation’s conflicts since its inception. This includes Native women who served in the armed forces as members of the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, Women Army Corps and the Army Nurse Corps.
NAIHM’s origin began when Cherokee American Indian, J.C. Elliott-High Eagle, authored the legislation for American Indian Awareness Week. It was signed in 1976, making Oct. 10-16 the first official week of national recognition for the American Indians. This set a precedent which was followed by later public laws expanding the observance to what is now known as National American Indian Heritage Month.
There are over nine million American Indian and Alaskan Natives living in the United States, across 574 federally recognized tribes, and more than 100 state-recognized tribes. Each tribe has their own unique native history, beliefs and governance structure.