Salt lake city government

October 11 is Indigenous Peoples Day, and many Indigenous people say there is still a lot of reconciliation work to be done for the Utahns.

Local leaders say they would like to see it recognized statewide and have Columbus Day abolished.

(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Carl Moore, President of Peaceful Advocates for Native Dialogue and Organizing Support, listens to Salt Lake City City Council vote unanimously in favor of establishing the second Monday in October as People’s Day natives at their regular council meeting in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, October 3, 2017. The League of Native American Voters of Utah worked with council member Charlie Luke (District 6) to put this resolution to a vote. If successful, Salt Lake City will join 26 other cities across the country in adopting Indigenous Peoples Day. Replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day is an important step towards historical truth and cultural reconciliation in this country.

Indigenous Peoples Day is October 11, and many Indigenous peoples know that there is still a lot of reconciliation work to be done for the Utahns to understand the Indigenous experience in the state’s eight sovereign nations.

This includes the elimination of Columbus Day as a statutory holiday.

While the progressive pockets of Salt Lake City support and honor Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October, Utah does not. That needs to change immediately, say Diné organizer and activist Denae Shanidiin, Restoring Ancestral Winds (RAW), and Paiute Indian tribe president of Utah, Corrina Bow.

On the same day Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument were restored by proclamation, President Joe Biden also signed a federal proclamation to designate each October 11 as Indigenous Peoples Day.

“From time immemorial, Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Hawaiians have built vibrant and diverse cultures – protecting the land, language, spirit, knowledge and traditions through generations, ”Biden said in the proclamation. “On Indigenous Peoples Day, our nation celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty, and commits to honoring the federal government’s trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations.

Shanidiin’s RAW group seeks to end violence – physical, sexual, spiritual and mental – in Utah’s eight Indigenous communities.

“The next step in honoring indigenous peoples is to abolish Columbus Day, a symbolic day of white supremacy, shamelessly celebrating the story of a mass murderer, rapist and enslaver of indigenous peoples,” Shanidiin said, adding Nor does Utah’s celebration of Pioneer Day in July tell the true story of how Mormon settlers and their colonization across Utah amounted to Columbus Day.

Bow, who is the leader of his people, added that it is important for Utah to recognize the natives of the state as Nung’wu, or the people, who lived here long before the arrival of white settlers. .

“We must not forget those who fought for this day,” said Bow. “I asked an elder what Indigenous Peoples Day meant to you and she said every day is Indigenous Peoples Day. Yes, she is right. Children, we are taught that every day that you wake up is a gift and that you should celebrate life.

As Diné heading the highest state office in the Indian Affairs Division of Utah, Dustin Jansen, executive director, notes that Utah has the opportunity to officially recognize Indigenous Peoples Day. More than a dozen states do.

“The state has not substituted Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day,” Jansen said. “There have been attempts to officially recognize Indigenous Peoples Day, but these attempts have not been successful. “

Instead of honoring Indigenous Peoples Day today, Utah will recognize it on Nov. 12 in a proposed proclamation, Jansen said. November is also Native American Heritage Month.

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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion