At the Nov. 12 Board of Aldermen meeting, St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano joined the board in proclaiming November 2020 as Native American Heritage Month in the city.
Pagano encouraged all Americans to commemorate this month with applicable events and to celebrate Nov. 29 as Native American Heritage Day.
Efforts had started in the early 1900s to establish a day to recognize the first Americans’ significant contributions to the establishment and growth of the nation. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association called on the country to observe American Indian Day.
In 1936, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) established an American Indian Committee, providing financial assistance and educational aid to Native American youth.
During World War II, more than 44,000 American Indians served in the U.S. military from 1941-1945. In fact, native language speakers played a critical role in winning Allied victories in the Pacific theater as “Code Talkers.”
In 1987, the DAR library established a special collection designed to assist with Native American research; the collection has expanded to 2,000 volumes that provide historical and genealogical information about the first people of the United States.
However, it was not until 1990 that President George H.W. Bush approved a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 as National American Indian Heritage Month.
Today, the U.S. Defense Department estimates more than 24,000 American Indian and Alaska Native men and women are on active duty in the U.S. Military. Another 150,000 are veterans.
The proclamation for St. Peters keeps the city synchronized with such events and activities across the county.