GOTNV Update: Gov. Walker Signs Indigenous Peoples Day into Law for Alaska
Indigenous Peoples Day is a holiday that celebrates Indigenous peoples of North America. This holiday was previously known as Columbus Day. However, through education on the discovery of the Americas, change arose.
Indigenous Peoples Day was first sponsored by the United Nations in 1977 as a replacement for Columbus Day. However, it wasn’t until 1992 that the day was first officially adopted. Berkeley, California was the first city to adopt Indigenous Peoples Day, spurred by resistance to a planned celebration of Columbus Day in San Francisco by delegates from the Bay Area Indian Alliance. Since that time, 40 cities throughout the United States have adopted similar celebrations replacing Columbus Day.
Today, four states celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day, including Hawaii, Oregon, South Dakota and, most recently, Alaska. Gov. Bill Walker first recognized Indigenous Peoples Day in 2016, and on June 24, 2017, he signed legislation replacing Columbus Day celebrations.
In the executive proclamation, Gov. Walker wrote, “Alaska is built upon the homelands and communities of the Indigenous Peoples of this region, without whom the building of the state would not be possible.” He pointed out that 16 percent of Alaskans have Indigenous heritage, and that “the State opposes systematic racism toward Indigenous Peoples of Alaska or any Alaskans of any origin and promotes policies and practices that reflect the experiences of Indigenous Peoples, ensure greater access and opportunity, and honor our nation’s indigenous roots, history.”
Indigenous Peoples Day takes place each year on the second Monday of October. This year it was celebrated on October 9.
Indigenous Peoples Day was enacted by people who took part in local political processes and strived for positive change. So on the day set aside to remember all Indigenous people and their many contributions to the nation, also remember to make your voice heard through voting and by encouraging others to do the same. Visiting with Elders or volunteering at a local school are other ways to honor Indigenous Peoples Day.
To learn more about how Get Out the Native Vote (GOTNV) is working to encourage participation in the election process, or to get involved, email email@example.com or visit the GOTNV webpage at www.doyon.com or Facebook @GOTNVinterior.