TO THE EDITOR:
Did you know that North Carolina has an American Indian population of 184,000, the largest of any state east of the Mississippi River?
There are eight state-recognized American Indian communities in North Carolina: Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, Coharie, Meherrin, Lumbee, Haliwa-Saponi, Occaneechi, Waccamaw-Siouan and Sappony. Members and descendants of other indigenous communities also make North Carolina their home.
November is Native American Heritage Month, a month when we remember and celebrate the historical and contemporary contributions of American Indians to our society. We also reflect upon the legacy of U.S. colonization and commit ourselves to an improved future.
Last year, in the annual presidential proclamation for Native American Heritage Month, President Obama said, “As we observe this month, we must not ignore the painful history Native Americans have endured — a history of violence, marginalization, broken promises and upended justice... Let us shape a future worthy of a bright new generation, and together, let us ensure this country’s promise is fully realized for every Native American.”