31 October 2022
During National Native American Heritage Month, we celebrate Native peoples, past and present, and rededicate ourselves to respecting tribal sovereignty, promoting tribal self-determination, and upholding the United States’ solemn trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations.
America has not always promised Native Americans equal dignity and respect. For centuries, broken treaties, dispossession of ancestral lands, and policies of assimilation and termination sought to destroy indigenous populations and their ways of life. But despite this painful history, indigenous peoples, their governments and their communities have persevered and thrived. Teachers and scholars, scientists and doctors, writers and artists, business leaders and elected officials, heroes in uniform, and many more have contributed immensely to the progress of our country.
We must do more to ensure that Native Americans have every opportunity to succeed and that their expertise informs our federal policy-making. That’s why my administration has engaged in meaningful consultation with tribal leaders, especially when it comes to treaty rights, reservation rights, management and stewardship of federal lands, consideration of indigenous knowledge, and other policies that affect indigenous peoples. That’s why I appointed Secretary Deb Holland as the first Native American Cabinet Secretary, and more than 50 Native Americans now serve in significant roles across the executive branch.
Meanwhile, we are creating new jobs in Native American communities and improving infrastructure in tribal areas. My administration’s American Rescue Plan has made the largest investment in Indian country to help tribal nations combat the Covid-19 pandemic and support tribal economic recovery. My administration’s bipartisan infrastructure law will provide indigenous communities with more than $13 billion exclusively to deliver high-speed Internet to tribal areas, build safer roads and bridges, modernize sanitation systems, and provide clean drinking water — all to put people to work. Through the Inflation Reduction Act, we are lowering the cost of health care and limiting drug costs for local families. We’re empowering tribes to fight drought, improve fisheries and transition to clean energy as part of the most significant climate investment this nation has ever made. Those investments include climate adaptation planning and community-led relocation efforts, funding the Tribal Electrification Program to provide electricity to non-electric homes, making environmental justice block grants available to help remediate legacy pollution, promoting conservation programs across the country, and restoring protections for valuable lands. Indigenous peoples have tirelessly maintained the likes of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
We are helping local communities heal from the intergenerational trauma caused by past policies. Last year, the Department of the Interior launched the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative to shed light on the damaging history of forced cultural assimilation in these educational institutions. We are investing in revitalizing tribal languages, protecting tribal voting rights, and working with tribal partners to address the crisis of missing or murdered indigenous people.
As we look ahead, my administration will continue to write a new and better chapter in the story of our nation-to-nation relations. We defend tribal sovereignty, self-governance, self-determination and tribal homelands. We support tribal economies, recognizing that tribal governments provide a wide range of physical infrastructure, social services, and good-paying jobs that benefit their citizens and surrounding communities. We will continue to fight for better health care, child care, education and housing in tribal communities. We will always honor the profound influence Native Americans have had in shaping our nation and bringing us closer to the more perfect union we know and should be.
Now, therefore, I, Joseph R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, hereby declare November 2022 to be National Native American Heritage Month. I urge all Americans and their elected representatives at the federal, state, and local levels to celebrate this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities and to observe November 25, 2022 as Native American Heritage Day.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-two, and of the independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-seventh.
Joseph R. Biden Jr.