Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Don’t forget contributions of America’s first people

To the editor:

As I searched recently for greeting cards to send to family and friends I could not find a card with any image of the First Americans.

I am hopeful that schools still teach about American Indians and there strong relevance to history and how they actually taught the Pilgrims survival skills. It was good to watch as an American Indian woman was canonized as a saint — Kateri Tekakwitha, patron saint of the environment .

It is so fitting because American Indians have often spoken about how we need to protect and care for Mother Earth. I read about the hundreds of American Indians who attended the ceremony and I was proud of all of them for doing so.

Sadly, our country’s first people were not granted citizenship until 1924, with the American Indian Citizenship Act.

I was attending a conference years back and a speaker stated that American Indians were extinct. I challenged her, of course.

Trust me, we are very much alive and although not in regalia, our families tell the stories. Many dance and keep the culture alive with crafts.

Please offer a prayer to American Indians who live on the reservations and that are poor and lack good schools and health care.

Ella Smolenski

Florence

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