OBSERVANCE OF AMERICAN INDIAN AND ALASKA NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH 2013

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FM CNO WASHINGTON DC//N1//
TO NAVADMIN
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UNCLAS//N05354//
NAVADMIN 284/13

MSGID/GENADMIN/CNO WASHINGTON DC/N1/OCT//

SUBJ/OBSERVANCE OF AMERICAN INDIAN AND ALASKA NATIVE HERITAGE MONTH 
2013//



RMKS/1.  This NAVADMIN announces the observance of American Indian and Alaska 
Native Heritage Month during the month of November.  This month celebrates 
the cultures, histories and traditions of the indigenous peoples of the 
United States.  This year's theme is "Guiding Our Destiny with Heritage and 
Traditions." 

2.  Recognized annually, Native American Heritage Month first began with the 
establishment of American Indian Day by the governor of New York in May of 
1916.  Several additional states enacted celebrations during the fourth 
Friday in September, but the celebration did not gain official national 
recognition until President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution 
designating November 1990 as "National American Indian Heritage Month." 
Similar proclamations under different names, including "Native American 
Heritage Month," and "National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage 
Month," have been issued each year since 1994.

3.  Today over 12,000 Sailors and 1,500 civilians of Native American and 
Alaska Native heritage serve in the Navy.  Our population is composed of 
nearly 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives, or 1.7 percent of the 
nation's population.

4.  Despite the fact that American Indians did not become citizens until 
1924, their legacy of military service dates back to the American 
Revolutionary War when George Washington began enlisting them for his 
fledgling Army, Navy and Marines.  Since then, they have contributed their 
fighting spirit and warrior ethos to help U.S. military forces defend 
America's national interests.  Both past and present, these members have made 
remarkable contributions to our Navy's legacy.  Admiral Joseph James Clark, 
the first Native American graduate of the Naval Academy and a veteran of both 
World Wars, served at sea on several cruisers and destroyers before 
designating as a Naval Aviator in 1925.  Additionally, in the twentieth 
century, three Sailors of American Indian heritage received the Medal of 
Honor, the United States' highest military honor, including Boatswain's Mate 
First Class James E. Williams.  Williams, a Cherokee from South Carolina and 
one of the Navy's most highly decorated veterans, was awarded the Medal of 
Honor for actions while serving as Boat Captain and Patrols Officer aboard a 
River Patrol Boat during the Vietnam War.  In 2004, the United States Navy 
honored him by naming one of the guided missile destroyers after him, USS 
JAMES E. WILLIAMS (DDG 95).  Native American Sailors began serving on 
Continental and state vessels during the War of Independence and have 
continued their proud service during every armed conflict since then, 
contributing to the lasting traditions and heritage of both the nation and 
the Navy.
5.  Commands are strongly encouraged to support American Indian and Alaska 
Natives Heritage Month by increasing their knowledge of the American Indian 
and Alaska Native cultures and contributions through programs, exhibits, 
publications, and participation in military and community events.  A showcase 
of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Naval history is available on the 
Naval History and Heritage Command web site at 
http://www.history.navy.mil/SPECIAL%20HIGHLIGHTS/NATIVEAMERICAN/NATIVEAMERICA
N-INDEX.HTM.  A presentation on the contributions of Native Americans in the 
military is available on the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute 
web site at http://www.deomi.org/SPECIALOBSERVANCE/PRESENTATIONS.CFM?CATID=8. 
More information on national commemorations is available on the Library of 
Congress web site at http://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/. 

6.  Point of contact is LT Deirdre Collins, OPNAV N134, at (703) 604-5075 or 
via e-mail at deirdre.collins(at)navy.mil.

7.  Released by Vice Admiral W. F. Moran, N1.//

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