Commemorating Indigenous Peoples' Day Act 9th October.......

Commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day Act 9th October: Bicameral Bill Led by Reps. Torres, Bonamici, Davids, & DelBene and Sens. Heinrich & Luján

Washington-  Representatives Norma J. Torres (CA-35), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Sharice Davids (KS-03), and Suzan DelBene (WA-01), along with Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), have announced their intention to reintroduce the Indigenous Peoples’ Day Act as federal legislation to officially change Columbus Day to a federal holiday and designate the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Congress Backs Indigenous Peoples’ Day Act

Congresswoman Norma Torres (CA-35) said, ‘Our nation has long failed to recognize and acknowledge the dark history of erasing and harming America’s first inhabitants. The Indigenous Peoples’ Day Act celebrates the 600+ tribes who have inhabited America for centuries before the arrival of Western settlers. By declaring the second Monday in October as a federal holiday, we take a small but important step towards acknowledging and elevating the rich traditions, history, and culture of all local communities – a vital part of the United States.’

Congresswoman Norma Torres
Congresswoman Norma Torres with colleagues

The Indigenous Peoples’ Day Act has 56 House sponsors. In the U.S. Senate, the legislation is championed by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Congresswomen Advocate for Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) stated, “Establishing Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a federal holiday is an opportunity to recognize the painful legacy of colonization that is still felt today and celebrate the unprecedented contributions of tribal communities and their unique cultures.” “I am grateful to join my colleagues in this effort to honor indigenous peoples, their history, and culture.”

“Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an opportunity to remember and celebrate the vital contributions of indigenous cultures and their important partnerships with our nation – long before we formed a union and continuing to this day – and a day to acknowledge the injustices and discrimination indigenous peoples have faced for centuries,” said Congresswoman Sharice Davids (KS-03).

Congresswoman DelBene on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) said, “Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an opportunity for us to come together in celebration of the important partnerships between tribal nations, their diverse cultures, and our communities. It acknowledges both the current and historical injustices that indigenous communities have faced and reaffirms our commitment to preserving their rights in a more inclusive and equitable society.”

Senator Heinrich Supports Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) emphasized, “Recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a federal holiday is a tribute to the enduring strength and resilience of tribal nations, as we remain committed to furthering our support for these communities’ prosperity and tribal self-determination.” “I am proud to stand with tribes and Pueblos to revive this national holiday, celebrating all of the important partnerships and diverse cultures of tribal nations.”

Senator Luján Advocates for Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) said, “I am proud to help champion the effort to formally designate Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a federal holiday on the second Monday in October.” “While we mark the significance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day here in New Mexico, I hold the aspiration that Congress will endorse this legislation, extending the celebration to all corners of our nation. Indigenous people contribute to society in countless ways, from serving in our armed forces to running small businesses, and this day would honor their contributions and recognize the responsibility of the federal government to fulfill its trust responsibilities to tribes and Pueblos.”

Tribal Support for Indigenous Peoples’ Day Act

The Indigenous Peoples’ Day Act is endorsed by Cherokee Nation, Navajo Nation, Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe, Barona Band of Mission Indians, National Congress of American Indians, All Pueblo Council of Governors, Indigenous People’s Initiative, National Council of Urban Indian Health, and the Pocahontas Project.

Tribal Support for Indigenous Peoples' Day Act
Tribal Support for Indigenous Peoples’ Day Act

“Cherokee Nation supports legislation to replace ‘Columbus Day‘ with ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day,’ and commends the consistent leadership of Congresswoman Torres and Senators Heinrich and Luján on this issue. It is long past time for America to recognize the important role indigenous people have played and continue to play in our nation’s history, economy, and future. The second Monday in October will now be a day for all Americans to celebrate the vital contributions of indigenous peoples to our diverse tapestry,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr.

“Recognizing and celebrating the rich histories, cultures, and partnerships of indigenous peoples is a necessary step towards promoting equality and respect. By replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we acknowledge and honor the resilience, knowledge, and enduring presence of indigenous communities. We appreciate Congresswoman Torres and Senators Heinrich and Luján for introducing this legislation to establish Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a federal holiday in our respective homes,” stated Dr. Jonathan Nez, President of the Navajo Nation.

NCAI Praises Indigenous Peoples’ Day Act

NCAI Executive Director Kevin Allis said, “Long before Christopher Columbus stumbled upon this vast continent, many indigenous nations of this country were thriving, and it is high time that we established a place to recognize the diverse cultures, histories, and resiliency of indigenous peoples. NCAI applauds Congresswoman Torres and Senators Heinrich and Luján for introducing this bill in their respective chambers and urges Congress to pass and the President to sign it into law expeditiously.”

Recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Indigenous Peoples Day celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of indigenous peoples, acknowledging their rich heritage of self-determination. While America’s story is one of slow and uneven progress, Indigenous Peoples Day celebrates the reaffirmation of the ideals of equity and respect. “By changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, we acknowledge the strength, knowledge, and enduring presence of indigenous cultures,” said Dylan O. Baca, Chairman of the Indigenous Peoples Initiative.

Congresswoman Norma Torres has been advocating for the recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day since 2019. She first introduced legislation to make Indigenous Peoples’ Day a federal holiday in 2021.

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