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The month of November is designated by Congress and the president as a time to reflect on the rich traditions and accomplishments, as well as the suffering and injustices, that mark the history of American Indians and Alaska Natives. This year's theme chosen by the Society of American Indian Government Employees is

In celebration of National Native American Heritage Month, Buffalo District EEO Officer Judith Phillips sponsored a "lunch-and-learn." Guest speaker was Mohawk John Kane, the host of a local radio show "Let's Talk Native." Lunch, catered by the Iroquois Kitchen, included strawberry juice and Indian tacos (homemade beans, beef, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream on fry bread shells).

Mr. Kane began by illustrating the long and rich history of Native Americans by pointing to the 20-foot wall behind him. Imagine the wall as a timeline. Almost all of the wall would represent the history of Native Americans while only the last few inches would be America of the post-European arrival.

In a frank and respectful manner, Kane did not deny or minimize the strained relations between Native Americans and the United States which exist even to this day. We need to do better; we need not be enemies Kane offered.

"Our peoples," said Kane, "whether in a canoe or a ship, are traveling down the same river of life. We need to cooperate. Native American culture, based on its long and varied experiences, has much to offer…much more than cheap gas, gaming and cigarettes."

This page was last updated on 11/28/2012 2:52 PM