Lawmakers in the Pacific Northwest mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day

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PMG FILE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE – Junior Miss Grand Ronde Kaleigha Simi (from left), Senior Miss Grand Ronde Isabelle Grout and Junior Warrior Nacoma Liebelt perform during the Veterans Day program at Lake Oswego City Hall.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN)- October 11 marks Indigenous Peoples’ Day, celebrating Native American culture, history and people.

As 2021 marks the first year that Indigenous Peoples’ Day is recognized in the state of Oregon, Governor Kate Brown noted the milestone in a statement calling it “overdue” and thanked state Reps. Sanchez and Alonso Leon along with other state lawmakers for making the bill recognizing the holiday a reality.

However, in her statement, Brown also noted the need to continue working with Oregon’s Tribal governments to create a more equitable future for Native peoples writing

“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,” she wrote.

Oregon’s federal and other state lawmakers also called for federal recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. U.S. Sen. Merkley tweeted “on #IndigenousPeoplesDay, let us take time to celebrate the strength and resilience of Indigenous communities in the face of historic and present-day injustice, and recommit to honoring their sovereignty. It is past time we recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a federal holiday.”

Oregon’s senior U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden also called for federal recognition for Indigenous Peoples’ Day, tweeting “This #IndigenousPeoplesDay, we celebrate the traditions and resilience of Indigenous Peoples in Oregon and nationwide. It’s past time to acknowledge the horrors Indigenous Communities have faced by recognizing this day as a federal holiday.”

Oregon’s U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici also joined in the call for federal recognition, tweeting “Indigenous People’s Day provides an opportunity to come together in celebration of the vibrant traditions & immeasurable contributions of tribal nations in Oregon & across our country. I’ve joined Rep. @NormaJTorres in calling for it to finally be recognized as a federal holiday.”

“On #IndigenousPeoplesDay, we all need to commit ourselves to honoring Indigenous communities’ rich histories, healing the wounds inflicted on these communities by white colonizers, and fighting for an equitable future for all Indigenous people,” Oregon’s U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer said.

Washington State’s U.S. Sen. Patty Murray also tweeted “this #IndigenousPeoplesDay, let’s honor & celebrate the Native peoples that are such an integral part of our history, culture, & future—especially here in Washington state. We must continue working to right the wrongs of our history & the horrors Indigenous people have faced.”

Also recognizing the holiday, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek tweeted “On #IndigenousPeoplesDay, we honor the first people of this continent and celebrate their heritage, culture and contributions here in Oregon. Today and every day, we must recognize the grave injustices they have endured & recommit ourselves to building a more just future for all.”

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