Each November, New York District celebrates and honors the ancestry and traditions of Native Americans during National Native American Heritage Month and acknowledges their contributions to the success and development of our Nation. The observance theme for 2018 is: “Sovereignty, Trust, and Resilience.”
Native American Heritage Month first began with the establishment of American Indian Day in May 1916 by the Governor of New York. Later, several additional states enacted celebrations during the fourth Friday in September, but the celebration did not gain official national recognition until President George Bush designated November 1990 as "National American Indian Heritage Month."
In line with the national annual commemoration, New York District's EEO Office orchestrated a program this year that included a visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian at the historic Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House.
Arranged by Ricardo Zaldana EEO Specialist, and led by Jean Lau of EEO, on November, 28th several employees journeyed via subway train to the museum and spent a lunch period filled with information about the diversity of the Native people of the Americas.
The U.S. Custom House is a National Historic Landmark and the building’s interior splendor is a museum in itself with an elliptical rotunda, a 140-ton dome skylight, murals, monumental marble arches and columns.
Employees toured the exhibit 'Infinity of Nations' with works of art from throughout Native North, Central, and South America, with more than 700 works on display.
Native Americans have also served in the Armed Forces with great courage and distinction, and the Diker Pavilion depicts their service on large display panels.
Other highlights included an exposition of focal objects, such as a Apsáalooke (Crow) warrior’s exploit robe, demonstrating the degree to which Native America was once interconnected before Europeans arrived and how cultural exchange profoundly shaped America's shared history.
"Our celebration of Native American heritage differs from other districts because we have such a vast diversity and talent," said Lau. "Listening to the narrator at the museum and observing the exhibits provided a realistic perspective that was very informative."
Employees of Native American heritage at New York District also shared information about their Native culture and traditions, sharing cultural beliefs.
Since the birth of America, Native Americans have contributed immeasurably to our country and heritage, distinguishing themselves as scholars, artists, entrepreneurs, and leaders in all aspects of our society.
"Collectively, the Army knows there is strength in diversity. In celebrating National Native American Heritage Month, the District recognizes that their rich heritage is a part of the diversity that this nation and the Army values.