October 31, 2022
During National Native American Heritage Month, we celebrate Indigenous peoples past and present and rededicate ourselves to honoring Tribal sovereignty, promoting Tribal self-determination, and upholding the trust and treaty responsibilities of the United States to Tribal Nations.
America has not always kept its promise of equal dignity and respect to Native Americans. For centuries, broken pacts, dispossession of ancestral lands, and policies of assimilation and termination sought to decimate the indigenous population and their way of life. But despite this painful history, Indigenous peoples, their governments, and their communities have persevered and thrived. As teachers and scholars, scientists and doctors, writers and artists, business leaders and elected officials, heroes in uniform, and more, they have made immeasurable contributions to the progress of our country.
We must do more to ensure that Native Americans have every opportunity to succeed and that their expertise informs our Federal policymaking. That is why my Administration is involved in meaningful consultation with Tribal leaders, especially when it comes to treaty rights, protected rights, management and stewardship of Federal lands, consideration of Indigenous Knowledge, and other policies that affect indigenous people. It’s also why I appointed Secretary Deb Haaland to be the first Native American Cabinet Secretary, and why more than 50 Native Americans now serve in important roles in the executive branch.
Meanwhile, we are creating new jobs in Native American communities and strengthening infrastructure in Tribal areas. My Administration’s American Rescue Plan is making the largest investment in Indian Country to help Tribal Nations combat the COVID-19 pandemic and support Tribal economic recovery. My Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act secured more than $13 billion exclusively for indigenous communities to deliver high-speed internet to Tribal lands, build safer roads and bridges, modernize sanitation systems, and provide clean drinking water — all while putting people- people work. Through the Inflation Reduction Act, we are lowering the price of health care coverage and capping drug costs for Indigenous families. We are empowering Tribes to fight drought, improve fisheries, and transition to clean energy as part of the most important climate investment this Nation has ever made. Those investments include climate adaptation planning and community-led relocation efforts, funding the Tribal Electrification Program to provide power to homes without electricity, making Environmental Justice Block Grants available to help with legacy pollution, strengthening conservation programs across the state, and restoring protections for land which is valuable. that Indigenous people have not been tirelessly stewarded, such as Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
We also help indigenous communities heal the intergenerational trauma caused by past policies. Last year, the Department of Home Affairs launched the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative to shed light on the harmful history of forced cultural assimilation in these academic institutions. We are investing in the revitalization of Tribal languages, protecting Tribal voting rights, and working with Tribal partners to address the crisis of missing or murdered Indigenous people.
As we look ahead, my Administration will continue to write new and better chapters in the story of our Nations’ relationship. We will defend Tribal sovereignty, self-government, self-determination, and the homeland of the Tribal Nation. We will support the Tribal economy, recognizing that Tribal governments provide a vast array of physical infrastructure, social services, and good-paying jobs that benefit their residents and surrounding communities. We will continue to fight for better health care, child care, education, and housing in Tribal communities. We will always appreciate the profound impact Native Americans continue to have in shaping our Nation and bringing us closer to the more perfect Union we know we can and should.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby declare November 2022 as National Native American Heritage. Month. I urge all Americans, as well as elected representatives at the Federal, State, and local levels, to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities, and celebrate November 25, 2022, as Native American Heritage Day.
IN WITHHEROFHEROF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-two, and the Independence of the United States of America from two hundred and forty-seven.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.