Native American Culture, Contributions Deserve Celebration

  • November 15th, 2021
Parker King posing with his arms crossed
Parker King

Nineteen-year-old University of Alabama freshman and National Indigenous Recognition Scholar Parker King has never celebrated National Native American Heritage Month.

But the proud Comanche Tribe member from Dallas, Texas, said he’s glad the heritage month exists.

“We don’t celebrate the month in our family though we do celebrate our heritage,” King said. “I do feel it’s important to have a heritage month for Native Americans because our history is often overshadowed by teaching about American colonists, especially in Texas. We had to pick Texas history as a mandatory class to graduate and there was only one chapter of Native American history.”

King, who’s majoring in geography, said he believes one of the main contributions Native Americans have made to American culture is teaching early European settlers the interconnectedness of native people, who within their tribes are very close.

“Everyone on the reservations knows each other and cares for each other,” he said. “I believe that American society, especially in the South, imitated that.”

King came to UA because his granddad is a diehard Alabama fan who promoted the Capstone to him for most of his life. Once he visited the campus, he said there was no doubt where he would attend.

“UA is great,” he said. “Though there aren’t many Native Americans here, I’m going celebrate my culture here by taking a Native American History course HY 332, campaigning to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, and link up with the five other National Recognition Indigenous Scholars attending school here and possibly resurrect the Native American student group that once existed.”

Contact

Jamon Smith, UA Strategic Communications, jamon.smith@ua.edu

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.