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American Indian Heritage Month

2014 Indian Heritage Month PosterNovember is American Indian/Alaskan Native Heritage Month.  It is dedicated to recognizing the intertribal cultures and to educate the public about the heritage, history, art, and traditions of American Indians.

2014 Presidential Proclamation

One of the ways NRCS celebrates American Indian/Alaskan Native Heritage Month is by producing a poster featuring artwork by an American Indian.  Each year artists from selected states have the opportunity to exhibit his/her talents and heritage on a national level.

The theme for the 2014 poster is Our Land: Our Promise to the Next Seven Generations.

The poster painting is by Brandon Ganyada-kda Lazore of Syracuse, New York, who is a member of the Ogondaga Snipe Clan.  He describes his painting as “Coming of the New Generations reflects the Haudenosaune (Iroquois) way of seeing the land the next generations as linked together. The health and well-being of the land directly affects the coming of the next seven generations. We must love the next seven generations as much as our ancestors loved us. By caring for the land we ensure the survival of our people seven generations into the future.”

In conjunction with recognizing the contributions of American Indians, I hope you will prominently display this year’s poster in your office. 

As Alabamians and Conservationists we have much in common with the first Americans.  The rich culture of the varied Indian tribes contributed to the history of Alabama and America as a whole. American Indian names abound in the streams, cities and towns across Alabama and the entire United States.  Agriculture has always been an important subject in American Indian culture.  American Indian culture emphasizes living with the land and understanding the surrounding natural resources, not unlike the goals of our agency.  When Europeans first arrived in the "New World," one of the largest contributions and benefits of their relationships with American Indians was the sharing of agricultural information.  It is widely acknowledged that colonists would not have survived in the New World without the support and knowledge gained from American Indian agricultural techniques.

American Indians practiced crop rotation, minimum tillage, hybridizations, seed development, irrigation methods and many other agricultural techniques that are still used today.

While most American Indian tribes were forced to leave Alabama during the Indian Removals of the 1800's, these tribes are not extinct.  American Indians removed from their home in Alabama have fought a hard battle and survived in Oklahoma and other western states.  A few of the descendants of Alabama Indians who escaped from Removal hung on to their communities and by hard work and determination are the basis for the Federal Recognized Poarch Band of Creek Indians near Atmore and several State recognized tribes.

The annual Poarch Band of Creek Indians Pow Wow in Atmore, Alabama, will be held near Thanksgiving in November. This will be a good opportunity to interact and learn about the culture of the Creek Indians of Alabama.

I urge you to participate in one of the many events that will be taking place across the State to celebrate American Indian Heritage Month.

Request Copies of Poster at http://landcare.sc.egov.usda.gov/.

Past American Indian Heritage Month Posters (PDF)