Not Just a Hunting Ground: Native Americans in Kentucky- Kentucky Native American Heritage Council

The Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission was established by Executive Order in 1996, and formalized by the Kentucky Legislature in 2004, the Commission serves in an advisory capacity to state agencies on issues pertaining to Native American history, and heritage preservation and protection. Their Mission: To ensure that all Kentuckians recognize, appreciate 
and understand the significant contributions Native Americans have made to the Commonwealth’s rich cultural heritage. Through education and increased awareness, the commission works to help all of Kentucky’s citizens understand the histories, cultures, and matters of concern to Native American peoples. 

Their Accomplishments:
Designation of November as Native American Heritage Month in Kentucky. Creation of a four-color poster commemorating the heritage of Kentucky’s indigenous peoples that is free 
and distributed statewide. Development of a 106-page resource packet for educators, Teaching About American Indians: Stereotypes and Contributions, that is free and distributed statewide. 
Development, with the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, of a companion lesson guide for elementary and middle school teachers to accompany an hour-long video entitled A Native Presence, produced by KET. Sponsorship of Native American Heritage Month activities at the Salato Wildlife Center in Frankfort. Partnership with other groups to create a Native American Art and Cultural Center for the Commonwealth of Kentucky at General Butler State Park in Carrollton, Kentucky. Development of legislation to strengthen the protection of Native American graves and to deter grave desecration and looting in Kentucky. Partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to support Living Archaeology Weekend, a presentation of prehistoric  and traditional native technology to elementary students and the public at Gladie Historic Site in the Red River Gorge. 
Their Goals:
To educate and communicate the rich diversity and heritage of Native American peoples in Kentucky. To lead and assist individuals, organizations, and communities in understanding the needs and concerns of Kentucky’s Native American population. To advocate Native American participation in state agencies and boards. To encourage state agencies to develop and support Native American programs. To advocate legislation and enforcement of laws affecting Native American peoples and protecting historical and archaeological resources. 

Images courtesy of the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission

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