My family recently had our DNA mapped.
I was delighted to learn we have Native American in our ancestry.
I have always had a heart for the original peoples of the United States—their history has been tragic, yet one can find wonderful stories of their nobility, bravery and courage.
Though it isn’t a national holiday, Native American Day
is celebrated by California and Nevada on the fourth Friday of September.
In 1968, when Ronald Reagan was Governor of the state of California, he signed a resolution calling for a holiday called American Indian Day. It was established as an official state holiday in 1998 to teach people of all ages about the tribal cultures, histories and heritage of the Native American tribes.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the largest tribal groups in the nation include the Cherokee, Navajo, Chippewa, Choctaw and Sioux. There are a 566 Native American tribes which are federally recognized.
Many celebrities including Anne Hathaway, Megan Fox, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Burt Reynolds, Johnny Depp, Rosa Parks, Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley and Oprah Winfrey are believed to have Native American ancestry.
It is interesting to note how many words have Native American influences! Words such as chia, chili, chocolate, coyote, guacamole, mesquite, peyote, shack, tamale, tomato, abalone, bayou, cannabis, Chinook, manatee, poncho, and potato!
Also, the names of half of the U.S. States such as Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Missouri are derived from Native Americans words. Oklahoma got its name from Choctaw words "okla" and "humma," which means "red people” and Utah received its name from the Ute tribe, meaning "people of the mountains."
Many of towns and cities also bear Native American names such as Umpqua and Tacoma.
Before Europeans came to America, there were 18-20 million Native Americans living here. Though they were not living as a single nation, they had a rich variety of culture, people, and languages.
Thousands of Native Americans voluntarily signed up to serve in WWI. To honor them, the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 was signed granting citizenship to the country’s indigenous peoples.
I am proud my family is a part of this great and wonderful heritage.