On May 10, Governor Rick Perry signed House Bill 174 designating the last Friday in September as American Indian Heritage Day in Texas.
The day is meant to celebrate the historical, cultural and social contributions American Indian communities and leaders have made to the state.
“I am proud to recognize the American Indians who are the truly native citizens to this great country of the United States. The many historical, cultural, and social contributions our American Indian citizens have made specifically to the great state of Texas have enriched our state tremendously. Similar to the other great holidays we celebrate for Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and Jewish communities it is only fitting to recognize American Indians,” said Texas Rep. Roberto Alonzo.
According to U.S. Census data, Texas is the state with the fourth largest Native American population in the country. But, as the website to the heritage day points out, even in a state with such a large population “most citizens of Texas are not even aware of the existence of approximately 120 tribes, three federally-recognized Indian tribes, one state recognized tribe, eight federally-funded Indian Education programs in the state, one Urban Inter-Tribal Center of Texas and the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Texas.”
That’s why this day and its celebration is so important. The celebration is being called “RE-BIRTH 2013,” which means the American Indian people of Texas are no longer invisible. There will be an ongoing history presentation where people can learn the history of individual American Indians living in Texas. An Elders Presentation will highlight their tribal history, how they blend modern and traditional ways of life and their participation in the relocation program. As part of the Elders Presentation a Dallas resident will be honored as the last full blood tribal member of the Wichita Tribe.
There will also be a Symphony of Drums. After the emcee shares the importance of the drum to the Indians, attendees will be able to listen to the heartbeat of the drums.
For more information about these events, happening September 28 in Lone Star Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. click here.