The days have grown colder, the leaves brightening and changing, and the season of gratitude, togetherness, and remembrance has begun. At Shank Marketing, November also holds special significance as we observe Native American Heritage month. We know a month of reflection and celebration for the rich and bounteous Native cultures will never be enough to erase the many wrongs and injustices done to the first people of America. Each day can be an opportunity to highlight the incredible work so many of the tribes we work with are doing to help restore habitat, encourage economic growth in Native communities, and replenish our environment to its natural and once bounteous condition. We are so grateful to work with several tribes in Washington, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, California, and Oregon and will highlight their incredible efforts throughout the month.
The history of Native American Heritage Month is one that spans time immemorial. It is a time to bring attention to lesser-known heroes in American history and embrace the past and present efforts of Native American people. According to Native News Online, Dr. Arthur Caswell Parker, a Cattaraugus Seneca Indian, was one of the first known advocates to introduce a day of celebration for Native Americans (www.nativenewsonline.net). He dedicated his life towards Native American efforts and advancement and established several American Indian rights organizations. Shockingly, in 1924 Native Americans were finally granted American citizenship, and Dr. Parker strongly advocated for what should’ve been a birthright. Another exceptional Native rights advocate was Reverend Red Fox James, of the Blackfoot Tribe. Reverend Red Fox James, “embarked on a 4,000-mile trek on horseback to petition the President for an “Indian Day” (www.nativenewsonline.net). These heroic efforts were still not enough to bring attention and recognition to Native communities and it wasn’t until 1994, that official proclamations were issued each year.
We are so proud to work closely with several Washington state tribes; Tulalip, Lower Elwha Klallam, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Suquamish, Swinomish, all of which are Coast Salish tribes, or tribes that are a part of the Salish Sea basin that is rich in heritage between rivers and the ocean. In Oregon, we work with the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe. In California, we work with the Redding Rancheria Tribe with Pit River, Wintu, and Yana people. We also work with a tribe in Wisconsin, the Sokaogon Chippewa community, and in Oklahoma the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma. Within our team at Shank Marketing, Abby Yates is a Tribal Member with the Nooksack Indian Tribe, and Olivia Rick is a Tribal Member with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. We want to encourage people to take the time this month for reflection and to honor and express our gratitude for true Native American heroes, both past and present.