I was rather distressed to discover last night that November is Native American Heritage Month here in the United States. Distressed because last night’s promo tag for The State of Things on NPR, at the end of November, was the first I’d heard of it. I am not Native American, my family is the definition of the Irish-French genetic mashup. But I’ve always been fascinated by Native American cultures and beliefs, even from a very early age. Suffice it to say that I was the kid who never rooted for the cowboys in my US history courses.
As we all gear up here in the states for Thanksgiving I find it a little disturbing that there hasn’t been more attention directed to celebrating Native American Heritage Month in popular media. Not to compare the two, because there’s simply no equivalency, but every year there’s a lot of attention in the national press devoted to African American History Month—as there should be. Why not for Native American Heritage Month?
The most I’ve seen even mentioning the Native Americans this month are last night’s The State of Things’ three stories (1, 2, 3) and an article posted on Reddit last night about the EPA closing a uranium mill in Utah. It bothers me that such an important, unique, and culturally rich and diverse people are still—in 2013—essentially over looked and forgotten by the majority population and government of the United States. Shouldn’t the nations of native peoples play a larger roll in our national discussion and government? I can’t be the only person who thinks so.