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. In Maryland, the day is a declared state holiday and is known as American Indian Heritage Day.
Although the date is more conspicuous as Black Friday, a shopping spree where many spend all day, from dawn to dusk, shopping the numerous sales, it is officially a day to honor Native Americans and all they have contributed to American and world culture.
There are many special programs and educational presentations put on for American Indian Heritage Day each year. And school children often spend time learning about Native American history and traditions on or leading up to this special day.
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 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.