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Oregon to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in October


Lawmakers send measure to Gov. Brown

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The state of Oregon will recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day under a new bill passed by the Oregon Legislature.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that beginning with Monday, Oct. 11, the state will recognize that Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of the Americas is historically inaccurate and unworthy of celebration.

HB 2526 passed the Oregon Senate on Tuesday with a vote of 22-7. It was approved by a 50-5 vote of the House late last month.

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

“Back in 1937, Columbus Day became a federal holiday. While Oregon does not formally observe Columbus Day as a state holiday, it has been celebrated nationwide since 1971,” Sen. Majority Leader Rob Wagner said. “The state of Oregon will become the 11th state to formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Our Indigenous people, language and cultures contribute incredible richness and vitality to the tapestry of the place we now call Oregon.”

Senate Minority Leader Fred Girod spoke against the bill. Girod said that while this was a tough bill to vote no on, he felt it unnecessary to “trash” Columbus in the process.

“I happen to like history. That was a very brave individual that got in a boat to prove a theory that the world was round, and I just don’t think you needed to do that,” the Republican from Stayton said. “I wanted to remove that part of this bill, and that wasn’t done. Therefore, I’m going to vote no.”


News release Tuesday from Oregon Senate Democrats:

Oregon Senate Approves Indigenous People’s Day as an Official State Holiday

SALEM – The Oregon Senate approved House Bill 2526 today, which makes the second Monday of October Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Oregon.

“It is important that we honor and respect native people in Oregon including our tribes. By passing House Bill 2526, we can memorialize the contributions and culture of these communities and honor the lives of the individuals who are native to this land. Records of native Oregonians’ culture and history were altered, misrepresented and harmed significantly by colonialism. This is a step forward to combat the impacts of those wrongs.”

According to data from the University of Oregon, nearly 140,000 Oregonians are indigenous people from Central America and Mexico, Oregon is also home to nine Confederated Tribes.

Celebrating Columbus Day has often brought reminders of pain and suffering experienced by native people, by re-naming this state holiday, Oregonians will be encouraged to learn, grow and celebrate our state’s native communities.

“Long before we called this land ‘Oregon’ it was home to many,” said Senator Wagner. “By instead honoring our indigenous communities we can recognize and learn from the harm native people experienced at the hands of settlers and also honor and promote the cultures that have been paramount in shaping this place we are lucky to call home.”

Senate Bill 2526 passed the house on a 50-5 vote. Today, it passed the Senate with 22 “Aye” votes, with seven senators voting against the measure. It now goes to the Governor for final approval.

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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