of the Press Secretary
AMERICAN INDIAN HERITAGE MONTH, 1999
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PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Ours is a nation inextricably linked to the histories of the
many peoples who first inhabited this great land. Everywhere
around us are reminders of the legacy of America's first inhabitants.
Their history speaks to us through the names of our cities,
lakes, and rivers; the food on our tables; the magnificent ruins
of ancient communities; and, most important, the lives of the
people who retain the cultural, spiritual, linguistic, and kinship
bonds that have existed for millennia.
we reflect on the heritage of American Indians, Alaska Natives,
and Native Hawaiians, we also reaffirm our commitment to fostering
a prosperous future for native youth and children. At the foundation
of these efforts is our work to provide a quality education
to all Native American children. In particular, we have sought
significantly increased funding to support Bureau of Indian
Affairs school construction and 1,000 new teachers for American
Indian youth. My 1998 Executive order on American Indian and
Alaska Native Education sets goals to improve high school completion
rates and improve performance in reading and mathematics. And
we are working to get computers into every classroom and to
expand the use of educational technology.
are also seeking ways to empower Native American communities
and help them prosper. My Administration is expanding consultation
and collaborative decision-making with tribal governments to
promote self-determination. We also support tribal government
economic development initiatives, particularly those that increase
or enhance the infrastructure necessary for long-term economic
growth. My New Markets Initiative seeks to leverage public and
private investment to boost economic development in areas that
have not shared in our recent national prosperity. In July,
I visited the Pine Ridge Reservation of the Oglala Sioux, as
part of my New Markets Tour, to explore opportunities for economic
development in Indian Country.
Among the most serious barriers to economic growth facing tribal
communities is a lack of housing, physical infrastructure, and
essential services. My Administration is working with tribal
leaders to build and renovate affordable housing on tribal lands,
bring quality drinking water to economically distressed Indian
communities, and improve public safety. We are moving to assist
tribal governments in developing the physical infrastructure
needed for economic development, including roads, fiber-optic
cabling, and electric power lines.
In working together to shape a brighter future for Indian Country,
we must not lose sight of the rich history of Native Americans.
Just weeks ago, the Smithsonian Institution broke ground on
the National Mall for the National Museum of the American Indian.
This wonderful facility will preserve and celebrate the art,
history, and culture of America's indigenous peoples. It is
also fitting that the first U.S. dollar coin of the new millennium
will bear the likeness of Sacajawea and her infant son -- an
image that captures the importance of our shared history.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United
States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by
the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim
November 1999 as National American Indian Heritage Month. I
urge all Americans, as well as their elected representatives
at the Federal, State, local, and tribal levels, to observe
this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day
of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine,
and of the Independence of the United States of America the
two hundred and twenty-fourth.
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