Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                          November 9, 2000


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                              A PROCLAMATION

     American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians are a special
part of the tapestry of our Nation's history.  As keepers of a rich and
ancient cultural heritage, Native Americans share with all of us the beauty
of their art, the power of their songs, and the grace of their people.  As
individuals, they have distin-guished themselves in virtually every field,
from the arts to the sciences, from the world of sports to the world of

     This month, we celebrate the culture and contributions of the first
Americans.  We also remember with sorrow the suffering they endured because
of past Federal actions and policies that had long-term and often
devastating consequences for Native Americans and their culture.  But, as
the new millennium dawns, there is reason for optimism.  During my 1999 New
Markets tour of the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota and my visit to
the Navajo Nation in New Mexico in April of this year, I saw firsthand a
strength of spirit and hope sweeping through Indian Country.  The Vice
President and I have worked with tribes to foster this hope -- through
economic development initiatives and improved education and health care.

     We still have much to accomplish, however.  While my Administration
has worked hard to bridge the digital divide and bring the Information
Superhighway to Indian Country, some areas still do not have telephone and
power lines.  We continue striving to provide American Indians with the
tools they need to strengthen family and community life by fighting
poverty, crime, alcohol and drug abuse, and domestic violence, and we are
working with tribes to improve academic achievement and strengthen tribal

     We are also seeking to ensure that tribal leaders have a voice equal
to that of Federal and State officials in addressing issues of concern to
all our citizens.  I reaffirmed that commitment to tribal sovereignty and
self-determination by issuing this month a revised Executive Order on
Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments.  This order
builds on prior actions and strengthens our government-to-government
relationship with Indian tribes by ensuring that all Executive departments
and agencies consult with Indian tribes and respect tribal sovereignty as
the agencies consider policy initiatives that affect Indian communities.

     This year, my Administration proposed the largest budget increase ever
for a comprehensive Native American initiative for health care, education,
infrastructure, and economic development.  Just last month, as part of the
Department of the Interior appropriations legislation, I signed into law
one segment of this budget initiative that includes significant investments
for school construction in Indian Country and the
largest funding increase ever for the Indian Health Service.  These are the
kinds of investments that will empower tribal communities to address an
array of needs and, ultimately, to achieve a better standard of living.

     Back in 1994, when I first met with the tribal leaders of more than
500 Indian nations at the White House, I saw the strength and determination
that have enabled Native Americans to overcome extraordinary barriers and
protect their hard-won civil and political rights.  Since then, by working
together, we have established a new standard for Federal Indian policy --
one that promotes an effective government-to-government relationship
between the Federal Government and the tribes, and that seeks to ensure
greater prosperity, self-reliance, and hope for all Native Americans.
While we cannot erase the tragedies of the past, we can create a future
where all of our country's people share in America's great promise.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2000 as National
American Indian Heritage Month.  I urge all Americans, as well as their
elected representatives at the Federal, State, local, and tribal levels, to
observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of
November, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the Independence of
the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth.

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

                                 # # #

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