Navajo Nation commends passage of ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’ in New Mexico

WINDOW ROCK — New Mexico House Bill 100, which amends the state’s observed holidays by replacing “Columbus Day” with “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in the month of October was applauded by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer.

The Nez-Lizer administration commended State Rep. Derrick J. Lente (D), Rep. Andrea Romero (D) and Sen. Benny Shendo, Jr. (D) March 15 for sponsoring the bill and respectfully requests New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to sign the measure into law.

Nez stated that the change is long overdue and that by honoring Indigenous people with an annual holiday it will enable and inspire people, especially Navajo youth, throughout the state to learn the true history of our people and the resiliency that continues to define Native Americans to this day.

“In 1937, the federal government declared Columbus Day as a holiday without input from Native Americans and without knowing the true history of Native Americans. For many years, Indigenous people have protested Columbus Day because it celebrates colonialism, oppression, and injustice inflicted on Indigenous peoples,” he said. “Observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day allows citizens to recognize our rich heritage and serves as a step toward healing and growth.”

Nez added that he is hopeful that the passage of the bill will also inspire educators throughout the state to teach the true history of Indigenous peoples.

Bill sponsor Rep. Lente noted that Indigenous people have greatly contributed to New Mexico’s rich and vibrant cultural history.

“This day is an act of restorative justice for our Indigenous communities, and it is a time to reflect on our understanding of our country’s history, both the good and the bad. New Mexico’s Nations, Tribes, and Pueblos are what truly make us the Land of Enchantment, and I look forward to the Governor signing this important bill so we can properly honor our indigenous communities,” said Rep. Derrick J. Lente.

Sen. Shendo, Jr., who introduced the bill on the Senate floor on Friday, stated that the passage of the bill acknowledges the first peoples of the State of New Mexico and their contributions, resiliency, and perseverance.

The New Mexico House of Representatives approved the bill with a vote of 50-12, and the Senate voted 22-15 in support of the measure. The bill will be sent to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for consideration. If approved by the Governor, the state of New Mexico will join a growing number of states that observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Information provided by the Office of the President

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