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  Real People

Sandoval County Commission adopts Indigenous Peoples Day

—Sidney Hill

The Sandoval County Commission has adopted a resolution declaring the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples Day in Sandoval County. The day coincides with the regular observance of the Columbus Day holiday that was established by the U.S. government in 1937.

“This resolution is an acknowledgment that Sandoval County recognizes that Indigenous nations have inhabited this area since time immemorial, and the county values the progress our society has accomplished through American Indian technology, thought, and culture,” said County Commission Chairman, Darryl Madalena, a member of the Jemez tribe and sponsor of the resolution. The commission passed the resolution unanimously at its regular meeting on November 20, 2014.

The idea of Indigenous Peoples Day was first proposed in 1977 by a delegation of Native nations to the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations. In 1990, representatives from 120 Indigenous Nations at the First Continental Conference on Five Hundred Years of Indian Resistance unanimously passed a resolution to ”transform Columbus Day into an occasion to strengthen the process of continental unity and struggle toward liberation, and thereby use the occasion to reveal a more historically accurate record.”

Berkeley, California is believed to be the first local jurisdiction in the county to adopt Indigenous Peoples Day, having done so in 1992. Since then, cities such as Denver, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Portland, OR, also have recognized the day.

 “Sandoval County has a long history of collaborating with the tribes located in the county,” Commission Chairman Madalena said. “This resolution should send a message to the tribes that the county values their contributions and hopes to maintain strong, cooperative relationships going forward.”

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