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McCollum Statement on National Native American Heritage Month

November 22, 2017
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) released the following statement in commemoration of National Native American Heritage Month, which is proclaimed each November:

"National Native American Heritage Month is a celebration of the contributions of the First Americans.  November is a time to honor the 11 Ojibwe and Dakota nations in Minnesota and the 567 diverse federally recognized tribal nations across the country.  We remember their vital and often difficult role in our national history, and celebrate how tribal nations make our communities and our country stronger today.

"Despite centuries of violent discrimination and abusive policies, our country’s Native American cultures and nations have endured. Tribal governments and Native communities have made monumental progress. Our federal trust relationship with tribal nations has grown stronger in the current era of self-governance among Native American tribes. This proud accomplishment requires the federal government’s full and respectful engagement, and there can be no backsliding.

"As a co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus and the Ranking Member of the House Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, I have met with hundreds of tribal leaders to discuss the needs of Indian Country. Working together, we have succeeded in making substantial progress on education, health, and criminal justice issues. Across party lines, we have rejected proposals to cut services for Native Americans and instead worked to increase the federal resources flowing to Indian Country.

"Despite these steps, we have much more work to do to address disparities and empower all Native Americans – especially our Native youth. As we honor the achievements and resilience of our First Americans, I will continue working to ensure that our Native American brothers and sisters have every opportunity to succeed."