As deeply troubling as the suicide epidemic among young Native Americans is, it’s important to stop and consider that November -- federally proclaimed Native American Heritage Month -- brings an opportunity to celebrate the wealth of social and cultural strengths that Native Americans consistently contribute to American life and ways.
This may not be a high-profile month of celebration among mainstream media outlets, but we who honor our heritage and hold it dear have plenty to talk about and reflect on regarding Native American spirit that fills our country’s heart and soul.Need help with finding ice breakers? Check the Library of Congress’ site that’s filled with Native American history and current affairs.
Way too many Native American lights come to mind to attempt a full-blown list, but here’s a personal list, pathetically brief, of those who come to my mind immediately:
In the world of business and industry, many Native Americans are key players in making those wheels turn. For local Fort Worth and area perspective, take a look at American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Texas (AICCT) board members. Other outstanding businessmen around here include Steve Cardwell, Southern Cheyenne, president of Brenco Industrial Services LLC.
There are many creative blessings such as artist S.S. Burrus, beadwork genius Martha Berry, actor Wes Studi, expert storytellers and filmmakers Rich-Heape Films, Inc., flutist Tommy Wildcat, and Cree filmmaker Doug Cuthand.
There are journalist giants like Bryan Pollard, Chuck Trimble (at left), Dan Agent, Mark Trahant, Jodi Rave, and NAJA President Ronnie Washines. And major news outlets such as Indian Country Today, Indianz.com, Cherokee Phoenix (first bilingual newspaper in the western hemisphere), Navajo Times and the Lakota Country Times. And tons of other Web sites.
So go and explore these wonderful paths into Indian Country. Find others. There are many. And they're all worth walking in beauty always but especially during November -- Native American Heritage Month.