Luján Salutes Native American Heritage Month


SANTA FE – U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District and Co-Vice Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus released the following statement today on Native American Heritage Month, which is celebrated during November.

“Native American Heritage Month is a time to look back at the many contributions of the First Americans, while also looking forward to ways we can build a brighter future for tribal communities.

“As home to one of the richest indigenous tribal populations in the United States, New Mexico is proud of the influences and contributions of the 19 Pueblo nations, two Apache nations, and the Navajo Nation.  Their impact on art, architecture, and agriculture can be felt in so many facets of our lives today.  New Mexico’s history has been shaped by Native American culture and enriched by its deep-rooted traditions that will always be part of the fabric of our state.

“Native Americans have contributed to all aspects of American society and have a proud tradition of military service to our nation.  Later this month, many will join together in Washington, D.C. to honor the Native American Code Talkers of World War I and World War II who played a key role in achieving victory.  We remember their heroic efforts and thank them for their brave service.  This month, let us remember all our Native American brothers and sisters who have worn our nation’s uniform.

“As we celebrate Native American culture, Congress must also respect tribal sovereignty and do its part to protect it.  From funding tribal programs to preserving traditional languages and protecting sacred and religious sites, Congress has important obligations to uphold.  By working together to meet our trust responsibilities and strengthen government-to-government relations, we can provide greater opportunities for Native Americans across our nation.”