American Indian Heritage Month


Karen Hidalgo, Staff Reporter

National American Indian Heritage Month was originally just a day in November 26, 1915, when the annual Congress of the American Indian Association first approved it. Within the same year on September 28th 1915, “American Indian Day” was declared for the second Saturday of each May; this was also when it was contained as the first formal appeal towards Indians as citizens. As time passed American Indian Day evolved and was then turned into “American Indian Week” when President Raegan proclaimed it, the week was from November 23-30, 1986.  Finally in 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a house joint resolution making November “National American Indian Heritage Month”. Regardless of the amount of times the date has been rearranged American Indians, Native Hawaiians, Alaska Natives and all other Indigenous people remained to celebrate their history by sharing stories, family traditions, music and dance. During the month of November there are special events going on such as Veteran’s Day (November 11th), this date is not only important but significant because both American Indians and Alaskan Natives remain the highest number of people whom represented and served the United States Armed Forces till this present day. Another important event is Rock Your Mocs Day (November 15th) this event is worldwide and it is when all Indigenous communities come together to celebrate the beauty and individuality; They participate by wearing beaded moccasins, maklaks or other traditional footwear. Twenty-two miles east into Porterville, Ca is the Tule River Reservation which contains around 55,356 acres of land, this reservation was established in 1864. The Tule River Reservation is home to the Yokuts Tribe, a few from the Sioux Tribe and from Comanche. Each reservation tends to belong to a certain tribe although there are some cases where multiple tribes live in a singular reservation. Here at Porterville High we have a “Native American Club” which is led by Ms. Sanders she hosts meetings on Friday in room H206. This Friday, November 19th the club went on a trip to the California University of Fresno for a meeting. Some of our students part take in traditional activities or beliefs such as playing an instrument, dance and teaching. Senior Tommy Jaquez part of the Yokuts Tribe says, “My family takes part in keeping our long hair because its an extension of our spirit. We also use sage to smudge away bad spirits or negative energy. We hold annual Powwows which brings the people together allowing us to express our ways of life.” In the PHS Library Archives there is an original copy of a “Handbook of Yokuts Indians” and “Songs Of The Yokuts And Paiutes” if you’re interested make sure to come ask about it here in the LMC.