Petrified Forest has been occupied and utilized by people for over 13,000 years! What a great place to explore the rich, diverse heritage of the first Americans during National American Indian Heritage Month in November. Of course, you can discover sites in the park on your own, such as Newspaper Rock with over 650 different petroglyphs or Agate House, an ancestral Puebloan site built of petrified wood. You can also explore this heritage with a ranger guided program including:
Every Saturday during November, Cultural Demonstratorswill be featured each Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm at the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark as a special opportunity to observe traditional skills in practice today.
Daily 10 am and 2 pm: Take a tour of Puerco Pueblo and Petroglyphs, a site on the National Register of Historic Places. Meet at the trailhead of Puerco Pueblo for one of the daily ranger-guided discovery walks at this ancient village.
Daily 12 pm: Take a tour of the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmarkand look for the design details that reflect the American Indian Heritage of the region, including murals by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie. Meet at Painted Desert Inn.
Backcountry Adventures!These off-trail hikes are not accessible. Most hikes are best for children over 12. Be sure to bring plenty of water, bring snacks, appropriate shoes, and use sun protection. Remember that weather is very changeable at the park-be prepared! Space is limited: first-come, first-served.
Sunday, November 6: Off the Beaten Path: Petroglyph Canyon Hike-Discover petroglyphs in the backcountry! Bring field glasses. Meet at the Rainbow Forest Museum at 9 am before heading into the park.
Sunday, November 20: Off the Beaten Path: Lacey Point Hike-Enjoy the wild Painted Desert and discover petroglyphs! Meet at the Painted Desert Visitor Center at 9 am before heading into the park.
Sunday, November 27: Off the Beaten Path: Onyx Bridge and Wilderness Petroglyphs-Take a walk into the wilderness to view a long petrified log and discover petroglyphs on the way. Meet at Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark at 9 am.
Information courtesy of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior
What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.
One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the "First Americans" and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.
The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.
The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.
In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including "Native American Heritage Month" and "National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month") have been issued each year since 1994.