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Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month has a surprising origin

The first of November is the beginning of Native American Heritage Month in the United States. Its celebration varies considerably across the continent. In communities where indigenous peoples are numerous and politically influential, government agencies, schools and historic commissions sponsor exhibits, student projects and lectures. In many other communities, citizens are not even aware that November has any special significance to Native Americans.

Generally thought to be a relatively recent phenomenon created by Congress, the roots of Native American Heritage Month go back over a century. It was Native Americans, themselves, who first promoted national recognition of their heritage. The Boy Scouts of America then became their political ally. Read more….

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history.Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.

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