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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary                                                                                         
October 30, 2009
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The indigenous peoples of North America -- the First Americans -- have woven rich and diverse
threads into the tapestry of our Nation's heritage. Throughout their long history on this great land,
they have faced moments of profound triumph and tragedy alike. During National Native American
Heritage Month, we recognize their many accomplishments, contributions, and sacrifices, and we
pay tribute to their participation in all aspects of American society.

This month, we celebrate the ancestry and time-honored traditions of American Indians and Alaska
Natives in North America. They have guided our land stewardship policies, added immeasurably to
our cultural heritage, and demonstrated courage in the face of adversity. From the American
Revolution to combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, they have fought valiantly in defense of our
Nation as dedicated servicemen and women. Their native languages have also played a pivotal
role on the battlefield. During World Wars I and II, Native American code talkers developed
unbreakable codes to communicate military messages that saved countless lives. Native
Americans have distinguished themselves as inventors, entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders, and
scholars. Our debt to our First Americans is immense, as is our responsibility to ensure their fair,
equal treatment and honor the commitments we made to their forebears.

The Native American community today faces huge challenges that have been ignored by our
Government for too long. To help address this disparity, the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act allocates more than $3 billion to help these communities deal with their most pressing needs. In
the Fiscal Year 2010 budget, my Administration has proposed over $17 billion for programs
carried out by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service, and other Federal agencies that
have a critical role to play in improving the lives of Native Americans. These programs will increase
educational opportunities, address the scourge of alcohol abuse and domestic violence, promote
economic development, and provide access to comprehensive, accessible, and affordable health
care. While funding increases do not make up for past deficiencies, they do reflect our
determination to honor tribal sovereignty and ensure continued progress on reservations across

As we seek to build on and strengthen our nation-to-nation relationship, my Administration is
committed to ensuring tribal communities have a meaningful voice in our national policy debates as
we confront the challenges facing all Americans. We will continue this constructive dialogue at the
White House Tribal Nations Conference held in Washington, D.C., this month. Native American
voices have echoed through the mountains, valleys, and plains of our country for thousands of
years, and it is now our time to listen.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of
the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby
proclaim November 2009 as National Native American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to
commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities, and to celebrate November 27,
2009, as Native American Heritage Day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of October, in the year of
our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two
hundred and thirty-fourth.



ELNU Abenaki