In the United States, the celebration of the history, culture, and traditions of American Indians gained official national recognition when President Ronald Reagan declared November 23-30 as Native American Heritage Week in 1986, and President George H.W. Bush dedicated the entire month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month in 1990. Since 2008, the State of Maryland also celebrates the American Indian Heritage Day on the fourth Friday of November, the day following Thanksgiving, and honors the ongoing relationship that it has with the American Indian community.
Beginning in 2020, our library system also wishes to commemorate the first Native American Day in Prince George’s County. In 2019, the County’s Legislative Branch stated the following: “The native and indigenous peoples of Prince George's County and the United States have significantly contributed to the rich fabric of history and culture we celebrate in our communities and should be rightly recognized. Whether it is the Piscataway-Conoy tribe in the County, or the many Native American tribes indigenous to every region of our nation, recognizing their place as the 'First Americans' is long overdue.” Renaming Columbus Day to Native American Day was celebrated in Prince George’s County for the first time on October 12, 2020.
Therefore, as residents of Prince George’s County, we would like to acknowledge that we gather on the traditional lands of the Mattapanient, the Patuxent, the Piscataway, the Moyaone, the Pamunkey, and the past and present, and honor with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations. This calls us to commit to continuing to learn how to be better stewards of the land we inhabit as well.