You are on page 1of 1

American Indian Heritage Month

The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. Red Fox James, a Blackfeet Indian, rode on horseback to get endorsements from 24 state governments. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month.
Red Fox James 1614 Pocahontas marries English Jamestown colonist John Rolfe in Virginia, bringing temporary peace between English settlers and Algonquians 1758 First North American Indian reservation is established in New Jersey 1824 Bureau of Indian Affairs is established 1830 Indian Removal Act gives president the power to negotiate removal treaties for American Indians to move west of the Mississippi. About 4,000 Cherokee die as a result. 1834 Congress bans alcohol sales on American Indian lands 1851 Indian Appropriations Act of 1851 gathers American Indian tribes and places them on reservations 1871 Indian Appropriation Act of 1871 dissolves the status of Indian tribes as sovereign nations 1887 Congress passes Dawes Act, dividing reservation lands into privately owned parcels 1890 Roughly 300 Sioux are killed at Wounded Knee in last battle with federal forces 1912 Jim Thorpe, an athlete of the Sac and Fox tribe, wins two Olympic gold medals 1924 Indian Citizenship Act classifies American Indians as citizens 1929 Charles Curtis becomes the 31st vice president of the United States, the first person with significant acknowledged American Indian heritage to reach this level of the executive branch 1930 Apache Scout William Major becomes an officer of the 25th United States Infantry 1934 Congress passes Indian Reorganization Act to protect American Indians from loss of lands and provide funds for economic development. Also helps re-establish tribal governments 1963 Lyndon B. Johnson bestows the Presidential Medal of Freedom on its first American Indian recipient, Annie Dodge Wauneka of the Navajo Nation. 1968 Indian Civil Rights Act grants American Indians most protections under the Bill of Rights and 14th Amendment 1972 The American Indian Movement seizes the Bureau of Indian Affairs national headquarters and presents a 20-point list of demands 1973 American Indians occupy Wounded Knee in South Dakota 1978 American Indian Freedom of Religion Act allows American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut and Native Hawaiian [people] inherent right to free exercise of their traditional religions 1980 Supreme Court orders U.S. government to pay $122 million to Sioux Indians for land illegally taken in South Dakota in 1877 1982 Supreme Court supports tax levied by the Jicarilla Apaches in New Mexico, allowing tribes to tax production of oil, natural gas and other minerals on reservations 1988 Congress passes Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, protecting American Indians gaming rights 1989 National Museum of the American Indian opens in Washington, D.C. 1990 First National American Indian Heritage month is celebrated (November) 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act provides process for museums to return American Indian remains and artifacts to tribes upon request and protect their grave sites 1990 Native American Languages Act protects the rights and freedom of Native Americans to use, practice and develop Native American languages 1992 Foxwoods Casino opens on Pequot Reservation in Connecticut 1997 U.S. military allows American Indian soldiers to use peyote in their religious services 2000 The U.S. Mint issues a dollar coin with the image of Sacagawea, the Shosone woman famed for guiding the Lewis & Clark expedition through the western United States 2002 U.S. Navy Commander John Bennett Herrington, a Chickasaw citizen, visits the International Space Station, becoming the first American Indian astronaut in space 2005 National Collegiate Athletic Association bans use of hostile and abusive American Indian mascots in postseason tournaments 2009 Federal government settles dispute with American Indians, claiming they were swindled out of billions of dollars in oil, gas, grazing, timber and other royalties overseen by the U.S. Department of the Interior since 1887 2009 Congress passes and President Obama signs Native American Apology Resolution 2011 Judge clears New York state to tax cigarettes sold on American Indian reservations 2012 Senate approves the HEARTH Act that allows tribal governments to lease tribal lands Kevin Washburn of the Chickasaw nation is nominated by President Obama as the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs

U.S. Navy Commander John Bennett Herrington

Annie Dodge Wauneka


Sources: AOL, Bloomberg, CBS, U.S. Department of Defense, ESPN, Friends Committee on National Legislation,, Legends of America,,, Seattle Times, TIME, University of Wisconsin, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Mint