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American Indian Month and American Indian Day of Appreciation


WHEREAS, American Indian Day began in Virginia in 1987; recognition was expanded by the General Assembly to a week in 1988; and in 1996, the General Assembly expanded recognition to American Indian Month and Day of Appreciation the Wednesday immediately preceding Thanksgiving of each year; and

WHEREAS, the American Indian community in Virginia plays an essential role in shaping and advancing the Commonwealth; and 

WHEREAS, American Indian men and women contribute to all areas of life in Virginia, including government, business, arts and sciences, medicine, education, law enforcement, and the military; and 

WHEREAS, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribe of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017 became law on January 29, 2018, extending federal recognition to six Virginia Indian tribes: The Chickahominy Indian Tribe, Chickahominy Indians Eastern Division, Monacan Indian Nation, Nansemond Indian Nation, Rappahannock Tribe, and the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe; and

WHEREAS, Virginia is home to one other federally recognized Indian tribe, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, which was recognized on January 28, 2016; and

WHEREAS, Virginia is home to four state-recognized Indian tribes: the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe, Mattaponi Indian Tribe, Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, and Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia; and

WHEREAS, thousands of American Indians from outside of the Commonwealth have moved to Virginia and made it their home; and

WHEREAS, on November 21, 2018, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, and the Mattaponi Indian Tribe will commemorate the 341st anniversary of the Treaty of Middle Plantation, which established the first reservations in the United States; and

WHEREAS, American Indian Month is an opportunity to celebrate the thousands of American Indians in Virginia whose abilities and contributions strengthen Virginia’s economy, enrich Virginia’s diverse culture, and invigorate Virginia’s communities;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize November 2018 as AMERICAN INDIAN MONTH and November 21, 2018 as AMERICAN INDIAN DAY OF APPRECIATION in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.