Category Archives: Social and Culutural Studies

History of Native American Heritage Month

In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.

The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants names (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

Source:

“About National Native American Heritage Month.” Library of Congress. https://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/about/.  (accessed on November 16, 2017).

 

A Brief History of Halloween

While the origins of Halloween are not entirely clear, is definitely intertwined with religious practices and celebrations of the past. Wiccan and Pagan groups are amongst largest groups who celebrate the holiday, while some Christian groups fear that demonic activity increases around this time of the year. A pre-Christian Celtic holiday called Samhain is thought by many to be the precursor to the holiday, Halloween, we celebrate today. It is difficult to completely trace its origins, as it was Christianized in the fourth or fifth century; we are unsure today what traditions and ideologies were added on because of this. Samhain was a day of heightened spiritual activity, and they believed that fairies, spirits, and souls of the dead could pass through their world to ours much easier that day. To protect themselves from these spirits and possible demons, the Celts would build massive bonfires, they would burn crops, and they wore costumes to ward off the spirits.

giphy[2]However, the Halloween we know today is a concoction of several different, borrowed traditions; many rituals of Halloween we see today are derived from times later than that of Samhain. In the 600s, Pope Boniface IV named November 1st All Saints’ Day to honor saints and martyrs. Some believe that picking that day was deliberately meant; they wanted to Christianize Samhain, which happened just the day before. Despite this coincidence, it is not clear if this was the intention. On All Saints’ Day, people would dress up, possibly to ward off spirits they thought were coming back from the dead. At this time, people in England went around and practiced “souling”, a practice in which they would ask for food and in return would give them a prayer for the dead. This is a possible precursor for trick-or-treating, especially because as time progressed, people would give out the soulers sweet “soul cakes”, mimicking the candy we get today. These are only possible origins for Halloween, as its true ones are not entirely certain or uncovered yet.

Works Cited:

Giphy. “Vintage Halloween.” https://giphy.com/gifs/vintage-halloween-z8UZbZzCPig2A. (accessed October 30, 2017).

Henry, Andrew. “History of Halloween.” ReligionForBreakfast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVB5rPfWPtc (accessed October 30, 2017).

Jabaji, Rawan. “Halloween.” Public Broadcasting System. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/five-things/halloween/4594/ (accessed October 30, 2017).

October Dispatches: Isn’t It a Pity? The Real Problem with Special Needs

In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Cardinal Cushing Library and Learning Commons will be releasing a series of TedTalks. These discussions, released throughout the month via Cardinal Cushing Library and Learning Commons Social Media, will be personal narratives that discuss the views of individuals with disabilities and the people affected individuals with disabilities (e.g. parents and siblings) in contemporary society.

Topics will include: social views of disability, peer-to-peer relationships, parental and sibling experiences with disabilities. Other topics will include: employment, higher education and dating. #EmmanuelOSAMP #InclusionWorks

Today’s talk comes from Torrie Dunlap who discusses the various prisms that society views people with disabilities: