The exercise is illuminating: what happens when everything you think about and write about is through such a lens?
I have been critical about setting aside a month—one month only–to celebrate Native American heritage because I think we should never forget the Indian viewpoint.
When I read thoroughly Portland’s proclamation honoring Native American Heritage Month, I was grateful for the acknowledgement of tribal influence on Pacific Northwest life.
One passage caught me by surprise because it invoked science.
When was the last time you saw a linkage between indigenous people and science?
“Indigenous People hand down oral histories, science, governance…and cultural knowledge” reads one portion of the proclamation.
How wonderful the Mayor and his staff were mindful enough to include science as a contribution of American Indians.
And it’s about time.
I’ve reprinted the (unedited) proclamation after searching for “Native American Heritage Month” on flashalertnewswire.net:
“Whereas, Native Americans, the indigenous peoples of this land, flourish with vibrant cultures, developed one of the largest trade economies and are the original stewards of Mother Earth; and
“Whereas, the city of Portland now rests on lands at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, a major crossroads for the economic, social and political interactions of the indigenous tribes for thousands of years; and
“Whereas, Indigenous People hand down oral histories, science, governance, a distinct relationship with water, land, rocks, trees, birds, fish and animals and invaluable cultural knowledge and rich traditions that continue to thrive in Portland; and
“Whereas, Indigenous People who have been here since time immemorial – continue to contribute immeasurably to our county, state and city’s heritage, distinguishing themselves as scholars, veterans, teachers, athletes, artists, entrepreneurs and leaders; and
“Whereas, The Indigenous population of Portland is the 23rd largest in the United States and nearly 16,000 people, descended from more that 380 tribes/bands from across the nation; and
“Whereas, The Community continues to contribute to the cultural fabric of the city of Portland through many events throughout the year such as traditional pow wows, festivals, celebrations, active community organizations and tribal intergovernmental relationships; and
“Now, Therefore, I, Sam Adams, Mayor of the City of Portland, Oregon, the “City of Roses,” call upon all citizens of Portland to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities, and to celebrate November as Native American Heritage Month.
[Blog 19 of Native American Heritage Month.]