This year, in addition to recognizing Columbus Day on Oct. 12, Arizona will also be recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day.
Gov. Doug Ducey signed the proclamation this week that declares Oct. 12 as Indigenous Peoples Day, according to a media release.
The proclamation comes at the encouragement of State Senator and member of the Navajo Nation, Jamescita Peshlakai.
Peshlakai has been working to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day in Arizona to honor the contributions of all Indigenous Peoples. And although this proclamation only applies to 2020, Peshlakai said in a statement that it is one step towards progress.
“I’m grateful to our Governor for signing this proclamation. This has been an effort close to the hearts of many Indigenous people. It is time that we move beyond Columbus Day and onto a day that celebrates Indigenous people,” Peshlakai’s statement read. “The story of Indigenous peoples in America is often invisible or ignored. And so it is important that as Americans we find the opportunity to celebrate the histories, cultures, and resiliency of the people who comprise the 573 tribal nations who live today within the United States.”
Peshlakai said he hopes to permanently change the day to Indigenous People's Day through a bill next legislative session.
Peshlakai has also partnered with the nonprofit, Indigenous Peoples' Initiative as well as California Congresswoman Norma Torres to sponsor a bill on the federal level, according to the media release.
In Flagstaff, the second Monday in October has recognized Native Americans since the city council declared it so in 2018.
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