Baca Sponsors Legislation Encouraging Native American Heritage Day
Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that encourages the designation of the Friday after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day. The Native American Heritage Day Bill encourages the establishment of a day to pay tribute to Native Americans for their many contributions to the United States.
"Native Americans have enriched American culture throughout their proud history," said Rep. Baca. "It is important that we honor these contributions and ensure all Americans are properly educated on the heritage and achievements of Native Americans. For years, I have fought to ensure Native Americans receive the recognition they deserve, and today, we continue this fight in the 111th Congress."
The Native American Heritage Day Bill encourages Americans of all backgrounds to observe the Friday after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day, through appropriate ceremonies and activities. It also encourages public elementary and secondary schools to enhance student understanding of Native Americans by providing classroom instruction focusing on their history, achievements, and contributions.
"Native Americans and their ancestors have played a critical role in the formation of our nation. They have fought with valor and died in every American war dating back to the Revolutionary War," added Rep. Baca. "I am confident my legislation will help to preserve the history and legacy of Native Americans. It is only right that we encourage greater awareness of the significant role they have played in America's history."
Last Congress, Rep. Baca and Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) worked together to introduce legislation eventually signed into law by President Bush, that established the Friday after Thanksgiving, 2008, as Native American Heritage Day 2008.
The Native American Heritage Day Bill is currently supported by 184 federally recognized Indian tribes throughout the nation. Congressman Baca has been an active member of the Native American Caucus in the House of Representatives since first coming to Congress in 1999.