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Gov. Ducey signs proclamation to declare Oct. 12 Indigenous People’s Day

Arizona state Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai. (Facebook Photo/ Jamescita Peshlakai)

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a proclamation Tuesday to declare Oct. 12 Indigenous People’s Day in the state.

The proclamation, which was proposed by Arizona state Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, says Arizona recognizes “indigenous people were the first inhabitants of the America” and acknowledges the historic injustices they suffered.

Peshlakai, who is also a member of the Navajo Nation, launched an initiative to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day recognize the history of the “First Americans.”

“I’m grateful to our governor for signing this proclamation,” Peshlakai said in a press release.

“This has been an effort close to the hearts of many Indigenous people. It is time that we move beyond Columbus Day and onto a day that celebrates Indigenous people.”

Campaigns to change the name have said the federal holiday honoring Columbus overlooks a painful history of colonialism, enslavement, discrimination and land grabs that followed the Italian explorer’s 1492 arrival in the Americas.

To celebrate the proclamation, Peshlakai, Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative President Dylan Baca and community members will hold an event at the Heard Museum on Sept. 29 at 9:30 am.

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