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Indigenous Peoples’ Day


WHEREAS, Indigenous people have lived and thrived in North America from time immemorial; and

WHEREAS, Virginia is home to seven federally recognized tribes, including the Chickahominy Indian Tribe, Chickahominy Indian Tribe-Eastern Division, Monacan Indian Nation, Nansemond Indian Nation, Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Rappahannock Tribe, and Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe, as well as four additional state-recognized tribes, including the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe, Mattaponi Indian Tribe, Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, and Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia; and

WHEREAS, many Indigenous people whose familial and tribal origins lie outside of Virginia choose to call Virginia home and make our Commonwealth a better place by doing so; and

WHEREAS, Indigenous people are not a monolith, and Virginia is proud to be home to many Indigenous people that are also members of the Hispanic and Latino community, as well as many Afro-Indigenous people; and

WHEREAS, Indigenous people in the Americas have long suffered persecution and removal from their homelands through the colonization, settlement, and forming of America; and

WHEREAS, Indigenous people are resilient and have continued to thrive and prosper to the present day; and

WHEREAS, Indigenous people have and continue to contribute to the success of the Commonwealth in positive and meaningful ways; and

WHEREAS, Indigenous people were the original stewards of the beautiful natural resources of the Commonwealth, and continue to fight and work towards the preservation of those resources; and

WHEREAS, in 1977, the International Conference on the Discrimination Against Indigenous People in the Americas first proposed the idea of Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a way to re-imagine Columbus Day; and

WHEREAS, in 1992, Berkeley, California became the first locality in the United States to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day; and

WHEREAS, in 2017, Charlottesville, Virginia and Falls Church, Virginia were the first localities in the Commonwealth to declare the 2nd Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day; and

WHEREAS, in 2019, Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, for the first time, recognized the 2nd Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day; and

WHEREAS, in 2020, Governor Northam proclaimed the 2nd Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the first time in the Commonwealth’s history-- calling all Virginians into celebration of Virginia’s Indigenous and Native American communities, declaring it a day to honor the rich culture and recognize the contributions of Indigenous people and Native Americans across the Commonwealth;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 11, 2021 as INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ DAY in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all citizens.