GRATITUDE MONTH AND NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH JOIN FORCES
We're Celebrating TWO Months
Who says you can't celebrate two months at the same time!
Yes, RosieCentral has designated November as our official Month of Gratitude and Giving Thanks. We hope you’ll return often to our blogs to get new ideas for how to bring more gratitude into your life and the lives of others.
Missed our previous four blogs on gratitude? Kendra and I invite you to click below on links that will take you to the first four topics for this month:
Week 2 of RosieCentral’s Gratitude Month
And now that we are beginning the second week of exploring new ways to give thanks and express gratitude, we want to acknowledge that this is also Native American Heritage Month.
As far back as 1915, there was a movement by numerous Native American tribes to have an official Native American Month that would recognize their contribution to America.
It Took Work and Time But…
After a great deal of work by various indigenous tribes, President Calvin Coolidge (30th US President — 1923-1929) responded positively by issuing a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915. The official document stated that the second Saturday of each May would officially be named American Indian Day. The proclamation and its documentation included the first formal appeal to recognize Indians as US citizens.
Seventy-five years later, in 1990, Congress passed and then President George H.W. Bush (41st US President — 1989-1993) signed into law a joint resolution that designated November as National American Indian Heritage Month.
We’re grateful that ever since 1994, Congress and the current president have approved and signed a resolution declaring November to be a month to recognize the contributions of Native Americans to our country. (Other names have been used such as National American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month).
What About Citizenship and Voting Rights for Native Americans?
I know. I know. I’m writing about gratitude. So you’re wondering why I’m bringing up the topics of citizenship and voting rights. Well, there is a reason. When we expand our sense of gratitude, it helps to remember that there are many who have struggled more than we have. People who, even now, continue to face discrimination. And by learning about the history of Native Americans and their struggles, we can become more sensitive to their needs and appreciative of what we do have.
This is where President Calvin Coolidge reappears in the story. More significantly than designating one day a year to honor Native Americans, Coolidge, on June 2, 1924, signed the Indian Citizenship Act, which gave full citizenship to Native Americans. At that time, about 125,000 out of a population of 300,000 were not considered citizens.
And Voting Rights?
The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 was important. Unfortunately, it did not provide full voting rights to Native Americans. As late as 1948, Arizona and New Mexico barred many from voting. The Civil Rights Act of 1965 removed most barriers although significant provisions of that Act were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Consider the Treatment of Others
When possible, work to assist others and make their lives better. Not everyone can. But you CAN be grateful for all the rights that you do have.
RosieCentral Extends Our Gratitude to No Teno Quah
To honor this month, we’d like to express our thanks and gratitude to No Teno Quah an amazing Native American woman. Previously, we wrote about her life on this blog. And if you’re like to learn more, CLICK HERE.
You may have heard of her through our RosieCentral blog. While researching women who participated in World War II, we learned about No Teno Quah. But if you know of her, you are more likely to know her by another name — Grace Thorpe.
Became a Rosie the Riveter;
Joined the WACs — Women’s Army Corps — where she was promoted to a Corporal during her time in New Guinea and received a Bronze Star;
Worked in General Douglas MacArthur’s Headquarters in Tokyo after the war, returning to the US in 1950;
Set goals for herself that went beyond the usual roles for women at that time;
Raised two children and when the grief of the loss of her son seemed to overwhelm her, she found ways to help others while continuing to improve her life through more education (received her BA when she was 58) and service;
Joined the American Indian Movement’s Alcatraz Island sit-in, serving as their publicist;
Became Legislative Assistant to the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs;
Served as a tribal district court judge;
Worked to protect the lands of American Indians from becoming nuclear waste dump sites.
Why We’re Grateful
Yes, Grace Thorpe lead a fascinating life. But that’s not the point. It is the message and the inspiration from her life that we’re grateful for:
The message — the inspiration — from No Teno Quah’s life is: