American Indian Heritage Day is a holiday in Maryland on the fourth Friday in November to honor the richness of Native American culture.
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Numerous states recognized American Indian Day at different times throughout the century. In 2009, President George W. Bush signed legislation that recognized the Friday after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day.
This day is a civil holiday and always follows the fourth Friday in November. It is a cultural day of recognition of the heritage and contributions to the nation by American Indians. In Maryland, the day is a declared state holiday and is known as American Indian Heritage Day.
In the days leading up to this celebration, schools are encouraged to teach children about the rich history of the American Indians, and about their culture and beliefs.
The Indians originally came to the Americas through a land bridge that existed between Asia and Alaska. This may have been up to twelve centuries ago. Gradually, they moved south and created around ten micro-cultures when groups established themselves in different parts of land. There are now over 500 recognized Indian tribes.
It is believed that, at its height, the population may have been as high as fifteen million people. Currently, there are between three and four million Native Americans in the USA and Alaska. Native Americans contribute much richness to the culture of America and bring a great respect for their history, for the land, and for nature.