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AUSTIN, TEXAS The Texas State Legislature passed a bill to create an American Indian Heritage Day on the last Friday in September each year.
Texas State Rep Roberto Alonzo(c) with Texas American
Indian leaders and Supporters
The American Indian Heritage Day is intended to "recognize the historic, cultural and social contributions that American Indian communities and leaders have made" to Texas.
The bill, known as House Bill 174, was introduced by State Representative Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas. The bill passed the Texas House of Representatives by a 147-0 vote on April 3.
Representative Alonzo argued there is a day set aside to honor Columbus, but not one set aside to honor American Indians who were here prior to Columbus on this hemisphere.
The bill goes on to say:
"American Indian Heritage Day shall be regularly observed by appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs in the public schools and other places to honor American Indians in this state and to celebrate the rich traditional and contemporary Indian culture."
The state of Texas has the fourth largest population of American Indians in the United States according to the 2010 US Census.
The bill passed the Texas Senate on April 25 by a unanimous vote. Sponsors in the Texas Senate included: State Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo and State Senator John Whitemire, D-Houston.
The legislation awaits for the Governor Rick Perry's signature to become law. Observances of American Indian Heritage Day in Texas will begin this September.
Several other states in the country have days designated to celebrate American Indians and their culture.
posted May 1, 2013 6:20 am edt