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Friday Facts: Government Information You Can Use

This Week's Facts:

-Website Outlines Legacy of Veterans Day

-Celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November

-Press Association Launches Website Advertising Public Notices

-Native American Fast Facts


Tax Season to Start Later than Normal

The 2014 tax filing season will start one to two weeks later than normal. The IRS will start accepting and processing 2013 tax returns no earlier than Jan. 28 and no later than Feb. 4.

You can find more information at IRS.gov.


Profile America: Facts for Features

Native Americans

There are 566 federally recognized Indian tribes in the United States. Source: Bureau of Indian Affairs

Over 20.4% of American Indians or Alaska Natives ages 5 and older spoke a language other than English at home, compared with 21% for the nation as a whole. Source: 2012 American Community Survey

There were over 161,686 American Indian or Alaska Native veterans of the U.S. armed forces in 2012. Source: 2012 American Community Survey

For more facts, visit the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features website.


Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Kim Brown-Harden
Federal Documents Coordinator

Andrea Glenn
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program


Join the FDLP-IN listserv for the latest government information


Join the Indiana SDC/BIDC Network on FacebookThe Indiana SDC/BIDC Network is on Facebook

Website Outlines Legacy of Veterans Day

Veterans Day HistoryThis Monday, November 11th, we honor Veterans who have sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. Many people know we observe this national holiday, but few people know how it came to be.   WWI, known then as “The Great War,” officially ended with the Treaty of Versailles, signed June 28, 1919 in the Palace of Versailles, France. Fighting had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m. The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926.  President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation.  The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans’ service organizations and the American people.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.  To learn about the History of Veterans Day or to get information and resources about Veterans, please visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November

Native American Heritage MonthNovember has been declared Native American Heritage Month by Presidential proclamation. What began at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of acknowledgment for the many contributions Native Americans have made to the establishment and growth of the U.S. has resulted in an entire month being designated for that purpose. One of the supporters of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y.  He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the ‘First Americans’ and for three years they adopted this day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kansas formally approved a plan concerning American Indiana Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call on the country to observe such a day. He issued a proclamation on September 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian day and included the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens. The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, 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.  However, there is no record of such a national day being proclaimed. 

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York.  Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September.  In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1916.  Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day observed without any official recognition as a national legal holiday. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Related proclamations have been issued each year since 1994. To learn more about Native American Heritage Month or more about Native American life and culture, visit the Library of Congress, the U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Affairs, and the Smithsonian.

It seems fitting that the celebration is during the month of Thanksgiving - an important moment in American and Native American history in 1621. The very first Thanksgiving was a three-day celebration of a peace treaty between the American Pilgrims, who were a group of Protestant separatists, and the Wampanoag leader, Massasoit. There are two primary sources for the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth. They describe food that would have been available for the feast including foul, deer, wild turkey, cod, and bass.  A letter written at the time also describes fruits, walnuts, chestnuts, small nuts and plums, gooseberries, strawberries, quails, pigeons, partridges, beavers, otters, and Indian corn.

Press Association Launches Website Advertising Public Notices

Hoosier Press AssociationRecently, the Hoosier State Press Association launched a revamped website for Indiana Public Notices that serves as a valuable tool for public and government agencies alike. According to their press release, the site features an online database of statewide public notice advertisements. It includes legal notices, court filings, sheriff’s sales, and notices of public meetings.  As required, all of the notices on the site also were printed in newspapers. Users can search for public notices by keyword, date, newspaper or location for free.

The Indiana Public Access Counselor (PAC) provides advice and assistance concerning Indiana's public access laws (specifically the Access to Public Records Act and the Open Door Law) to members of the public and government officials and employees. Governor O'Bannon created the PAC office in 1998 with executive order number 98-24, after a statewide collaboration of seven newspapers found great obstacles in obtaining government information in Indiana. The General Assembly then created the office by statute in 1999 (P.L. 70-1999, P.L. 191-1999).

The Access to Public Records Act (P.L. 19-1983) legally affirms that “it is the public policy of the state that all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and employees.” Essentially, citizens have a right to know how the government conducts the peoples’ business, and the burden of proof for nondisclosure of a public record is placed on the public agency, not the persons seeking access or copies.

Indiana’s Open Door Law (Acts 1977, P.L. 57) was passed by the Indiana General Assembly with the intent “that the official action of public agencies be conducted and taken openly, unless otherwise expressly provided by statue, in order that the people may be fully informed.”  A meeting is defined as a gathering of a majority of a governing body of a public agency for the purpose of conducting official business.  Proper public notice of meetings must be posted at least 48 hours in advance.

For more information including the PAC’s Advisory Opinions and Informal Opinions, visit the PAC website. Indiana’s Transparency Portal provides public access to State Government spending, budgets, contracts and more.

 

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