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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 08 October 2021

SALEM, OR—This Monday, Oct. 11, will be Oregon’s first official recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, following the passage of House Bill 2526 during the 2021 Legislative Session.

tawna sanchez introRep. Tawna Sanchez (D-N & NE Portland)The bill replaces Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a state holiday and recognizes that Native people on this land created self-sufficient, thriving and successful communities for thousands of years before the arrival of european settlers.

In celebration of the holiday, the Oregon House Democrats honor the Nine Confederated Tribes and Indigenous peoples who have shaped Oregon’s past and present, while recognizing the true and painful history of hundreds of years of colonial violence that brought diseases, warfare, genocide and forced assimilation.

“An honest accounting of our past allows us to take steps to address deep impacts of this legacy,” said Rep. Tawna Sanchez (D-N & NE Portland), one of the bill’s chief sponsors. “Establishing this holiday is an important step away from our country's painful history and toward creating a state where we value equity, justice and inclusivity.”

teresa alonso leon introRep. Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn)“As Oregon’s first Indigenous Latina immigrant to serve our Legislature, this is more than just a holiday,” said Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn), a member of the Purepecha community from the state of Michoacan, Mexico. “This is a celebration of the many cultures and contributions of Indigenous peoples to this state, and a commitment to ensuring the truth is told and history is not erased or whitewashed as it has been in the past.”

In past sessions, the Legislature advanced legislation to affirm tribal sovereignty. This includes:  

  • Indian Child Welfare Act (HB 4148): Protects children and families who are overrepresented in our foster care system, promoting Native children's continued connection to culture, family, and tribe. 
  • Tribal Regalia (HB 2052): Honors Native traditions, expression and items of cultural significance at public school events.
  • The CROWN Act (HB 2935): Bans public schools and employers from discriminating against hairstyles associated with race or sexual orientation. 
  • Missing Native Women (HB 2625): Directs the Department of State Police to study how to increase criminal justice and investigative resources towards future and past cases of missing and murdered Native women in Oregon. 
  • Dental Therapy (HB 2528): Expands dental therapy care, addressing inequities in oral hygiene. 
  • Water Rights (HB 2244): Prevents the abuse of the judicial process that deprives senior water rights holders – including the Klamath and Confederated Umatilla Tribes – from use of their water rights pursuant to a final order of the Oregon Water Resources Department (WRD).

Celebrations and events happening across the state: 

  • Eugene: Museum of Cultural and Natural History (1680 East 15th Avenue). Free admission all day to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day on Oct. 11, where 14,000 years of Native culture in Oregon will be featured. For more information, click here
  • Portland: Virtual event hosted by the Portland Indigenous Marketplace on Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Marketplace will partner with the Great Spirit Church to offer a day of events to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day. For more information, visit indigenousmarketplace.org
  • Ashland: Southern Oregon University’s Native American Student Union (NASU) has planned a webinar for Friday, Oct. 8, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature “Boarding School survivors, descendants and current educators.” For more information, click here
  • Clackamas County: Virtual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration on Tuesday, Oct. 12. Webinar event hosted by Clackamas County and Clackamas Community College, in collaboration with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and local Indigenous community members. For more information and to attend, click here
  • Bend: Central Oregon Community College at the Coats Campus Center. Events all day on Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Details here
  • Corvallis: Oregon State University event from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 11. For more information, click here

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