Donald Trump just struck a blow for every white person who ever asked in February why there’s no White History Month. (Answer, as always: Because that’s every damn month.) Since a 1990 proclamation by Republican President George H.W. Bush, November has been Native American Heritage Month. Trump himself proclaimed Native American Heritage Month in 2017 and 2018, but in 2019 he decided to go full white nationalist, proclaiming November to be “National American History and Founders Month.”
Because who really doesn’t get enough credit? George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton … yeah, those guys are basically forgotten and unacknowledged. And what do you know: honoring them turns out to be all about the Trump agenda. “From overthrowing tyrannical rule in the Revolutionary War to liberating Europe from Nazi control during World War II, the United States will always remain steadfast in our dedication to promoting liberty and justice over the evil forces of oppression and indignity,” the proclamation reads. “This same truth fuels us in our efforts to confront the challenges that face our citizens here at home, including protecting precious religious liberties, securing our Nation’s borders, and combating the opioid crisis.” (Paging Lin-Manuel Miranda here.)
Trump offers a charge that he himself has so blatantly ignored. “To continue safeguarding our freedom, we must develop a deeper understanding of our American story. Studying our country’s founding documents and exploring our unique history—both the achievements and challenges—is indispensable to the future success of our great Nation.”
I’m sorry—Mr. “The emoluments clause is phony” wants us to study our country’s founding documents? Sure, guy, take a look into not just the emoluments clause but the impeachment power. For that matter … Donald Trump is endorsing the study of history of any kind?
”To continue to advance liberty and prosperity, we must ensure the next generation of leaders is steeped in the proud history of our country,” the proclamation proclaims. Hey, you know what else is part of the proud history of our country? Native American heritage.
It appears that Team Trump didn’t give an advance heads up on the new plan for White Nationalist Heritage Month to the folks over at NativeAmericanHeritageMonth.gov, where “The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.” They’d already planned events for the month—events that are still, or even more, worth checking out in the face of this erasure.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.