Oregon recognizes Indigenous Peoples Day; tribes see hope

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The second Monday in October, long celebrated as Columbus Day, will officially be recognized as Indigenous Peoples Day in Oregon.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports among tribal leaders in Oregon, the change represents overdue recognition and hope for the future, as well as a feeling that more could be done to recognize and support Indigenous communities.

The Legislature this spring overwhelmingly approved a bill declaring Oct. 11 to be Indigenous Peoples Day.

The legislation was sponsored by the Legislature’s only Indigenous lawmakers, Rep. Tawna Sanchez and Rep. Teresa Alonso-Leon.

Oregon is one of 13 states to recognize the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day.

Governor Kate Brown issued the following statement Monday:

“Today is long overdue. I am proud that we can officially recognize today as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Oregon. I’d like to thank Reps. Sanchez and Alonso Leon who introduced the bill this session recognizing this important day, and everyone who worked so hard to pass the bill to make today a reality.

“Oregon’s Indigenous, Tribal, and Native peoples have been stewards of our forests, fish, wildlife, lands, and waters since time immemorial. Today, we recognize not only that historical and cultural heritage, but our continuing partnership with Oregon’s sovereign Tribal governments as we work together towards a more just and equitable future.

“Oregon’s historical treatment of Indigenous people is stained by racism, discrimination, forced removal, and violence. We cannot change that past––but we can work together to dismantle the legacies of colonialism and racism just as they were built, brick by brick.

“No matter where you are in Oregon today, remember, you are on Indigenous land. Today, we pay our respects to the nine federally recognized Tribes in Oregon, and honor all the Indigenous peoples who have long called these sacred lands their home. We are grateful to be here today.”

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