TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Indigenous Peoples Day is the same day set aside to recognize Christopher Columbus who began the era of European colonization of the Americas. This day recognizes that for indigenous peoples that began an era of lost land and lost lives.
President Biden's decision to restore larger boundaries to better protect Utah’s Bear’s Ears National Monument combines respect for the environment and respect for the tribes that see that land as sacred.
As the first President to formally acknowledge Indigenous Peoples Day he called for investing in the future of Native American communities and empowering tribal nations to make their own decisions.
He said, in part, “We must never forget the centuries-long campaign of violence, displacement, assimilation, and terror wrought upon Native communities and Tribal Nations throughout our country. Today, we acknowledge the significant sacrifices made by Native peoples to this country — and recognize their many ongoing contributions to our Nation.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has also signed a proclamation recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day.
Here in Tucson, Dillon Dobson, a member of the Cowlitz Tribe of the Pacific Northwest, is President of the University of Arizona’s Native American Law Student Association. The Association released a statement calling for more respect and attention to Native American concerns. He was pleased by the President's words, and hopes to see more action — like revoking pipeline permits and reinstating protections for wolves,
“You know, respecting sacred lands of our indigenous communities for example Apache Stronghold, among many, many others in here, in particular as well there are a lot of issues that have been created as a result of the border separating indigenous peoples on the north and south side of the border and so comprehensive immigration reform is a critical part of of respecting indigenous sovereignty.
And Dobson thinks rising respect for tribes reflects rising recognition of their voting power.
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