SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The city of Springfield held their annual Native American flag raising ceremony along with the Native American Inter-Tribal Council of Western Massachusetts at City Hall Friday morning.

Members of the council joined with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno to discuss Native American Heritage Month and to raise the flag.

“We’ve always been here, and we plan to stay here, and to be acknowledged by the city of Springfield through the flag raising ceremony is a powerful statement,” said Lena Two-feathers. “We’re still here and we like to connect and find a peaceful common place to where we can all move forward.”

Angeliah Carter explained to 22News why Friday’s event was meaningful to her, “For me, it means that we get to have an opportunity to speak for our people and help them.”

“It is always important that we honor our Native Americans for not only their legacy, but also, what they continue to do for our Springfield community,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

Native American Heritage Month is held in November and was first declared by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. The month celebrates the culture, history and traditions of Native people.