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For Immediate Release - September 19, 2000
Anastasia Burton / Governor's Office
Lori Ryan / Office of Indian Affairs
(406) 444-3111

Montana To Observe American Indian Heritage Day

(HELENA)---Lt. Governor Judy Martz today encouraged all Montanans to heighten their awareness of American Indian Heritage Day, set for September 22. "All Montanans have an invaluable opportunity for cultural enrichment through communicating with Native Americans," Lt. Governor Martz said. "Learning more about the views and beliefs of Native Americans would contribute to better understanding of their unique background," she added.

A variety of events are scheduled in communities across the state in conjunction with American Indian Heritage Day, including: prayer ceremonies, tipi raisings, traditional story telling, and dance exhibitions.

Louis Clayborn, Coordinator of the Governor's Office of Indian Affairs, said, "The cultural values of Native Americans have been shaped by the environment that our people have survived in for hundreds of years. Our strength in life and our commitment to our values comes from the recognition that the Creator gave us Mother Nature to nourish us as 'human beings,' as the Creator nourishes us as 'spirit people.'"

He added, "In these two facets of our 'being' do we become people of the world -- to share our knowledge of our 'spirit' and 'culture' to all people of America. American Indian Heritage Day offers a good opportunity for all people of Montana to reflect on the contributions of Indian people to this state."

Three years ago, Governor Racicot signed into law the Legislature's designation of the fourth Friday in September as "American Indian Heritage Day." The State of Montana contains the fourth largest Indian population in America.


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