IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
July 23, 2007
Mr. Inouye (for himself, Mr. Brownback, Mr. Akaka, and Mr. Stevens) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To designate the Friday after Thanksgiving of each year
Native American Heritage Day in honor of the achievements and
contributions of Native Americans to the United States.
This Act may be cited as
Native American Heritage Day Act
Congress finds that—
Native Americans are the descendants of the aboriginal, indigenous, native people who were the original inhabitants of and who governed the lands that now constitute the United States;
Native Americans have volunteered to serve in the United States Armed Forces and have served with valor in all of the Nation’s military actions from the Revolutionary War through the present day, and in most of those actions, more Native Americans per capita served in the Armed Forces than any other group of Americans;
Native American tribal governments developed the fundamental principles of freedom of speech and separation of governmental powers that were a model for those that form the foundation of the United States Constitution;
the Founding Fathers based the provisions of the Constitution on the unique system of democracy of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, which divided powers among the branches of government and provided for a system of checks and balances;
Native Americans have made distinct and significant contributions to the United States and the rest of the world in many fields, including agriculture, medicine, music, language, and art, and Native Americans have distinguished themselves as inventors, entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders, and scholars;
Native Americans should be recognized for their contributions to the United States as local and national leaders, artists, athletes, and scholars;
nationwide recognition of the contributions that Native Americans have made to the fabric of American society will afford an opportunity for all Americans to demonstrate their respect and admiration of Native Americans for their important contributions to the political, cultural, and economic life of the United States;
nationwide recognition of the contributions that Native Americans have made to the Nation will encourage self-esteem, pride, and self-awareness in Native Americans of all ages;
designation of the Friday following Thanksgiving of each year as Native American Heritage Day will underscore the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Native American governments; and
designation of Native American Heritage Day will encourage public elementary and secondary schools in the United States to enhance understanding of Native Americans by providing curricula and classroom instruction focusing on the achievements and contributions of Native Americans to the Nation.
Designation of Native American Heritage Day
The Friday immediately succeeding Thanksgiving Day of each year shall be known as Native American Heritage Day.
Celebration of Native American Heritage Day
Congress encourages the people of the United States, as well as Federal, State, and local governments and interested groups and organizations to observe Native American Heritage Day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities, including activities related to—
the historical and constitutional status of Native American tribal governments as well as the present day status of Native Americans;
the cultures, traditions, and languages of Native Americans; and
the rich Native American cultural legacy that all Americans enjoy today.
For purposes of this Act, the term Native American has the meaning given such term by section 16(10) of the National Museum of the American Indian Act (20 U.S.C. 80q–14(10)).