UPDATE 10/14/19 — Governor Gavin Newsom has proclaimed today Indigenous Peoples' Day across the State of California.
In his proclamation Newsom honors local leaders who proclaimed the holiday "decades ahead of us." He also lays out a reasoning for the shift by saying "Instead of commemorating conquest today, we recognize resilience."
Here is the full proclamation, scroll down for the original story pertaining to the local holiday and celebration:
MENDOCINO Co., 10/13/19 — Monday marks Mendocino County's first regular Indigenous People's Day, after a unanimous vote by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors this past August. Previously, Mendocino County had called this day Columbus Day, although a number of states and cities have made the switch to Indigenous People's Day over the last several decades.
The change, which is gaining steam across the nation, is construed by most a modest attempt to recognize the centuries of genocide and dispossession committed against the indigenous peoples of the Americas, since the Christopher Columbus began the process of colonization in 1492.
We are not aware of any public events happening here in Mendocino County, but if you know of any please email tips@mendovoice, or contact us via Facebook. However, some schools will be inviting local tribal members to speak to students about their tribal languages, games, and traditions from around Mendocino County.
There will be a ceremony held on Alcatraz Island at sunrise on Indigenous Peoples' Day, as there traditionally has been on Thanksgiving, to commemorate the American Indian Movement's reclamation of Alcatraz in 1969. There is also an Indigenous Peoples Day Festival taking place at Santa Rosa Junior College.
Here in Mendocino County, during the August 20 board meeting county supervisors unanimously approved a proclamation which stated that the second Monday in October, commonly commemorated across the nation as Columbus Day, shall hence forth be celebrated as Indigenous Peoples' Day in Mendocino County.
Mendocino County also previously unanimously passed a resolution proclaiming an Indigenous People's Day during an October 6, 2015 board meeting for just that year — this year's resolution included a change to law which officially makes this a recurring holiday, and required some subtle changes to specific details in various ordinances and contracts. The older proclamation did use stronger language than the one passed this year.
The minutes from that 2015 meeting read that the supervisors approved a non-agendized "Resolution recognizing October 12, 2015, as Indigenous Peoples’ Day to celebrate the thriving cultures and values of Indigenous Peoples and acknowledging the intergenerational harms and traumas related to the forcible removal of Indian children as a result of the United States’ American Indian Boarding School Policy and authorizes Chair to sign same."
Governor Gavin Newsom, who formally apologized in June to California's tribes for what he called a genocide, also proclaimed September 27 to be Native American Day this year.
Here's the full proclamation passed by the supervisors this August:
PROCLAMATION OF THE MENDOCINO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS DECLARING THE SECOND MONDAY IN OCTOBER AS INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ DAY IN MENDOCINO COUNTYMendocino County proclamation by the Board of Supervisors, passed August 20, 2019.
WHEREAS, 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 the Americas; and
WHEREAS, the United States endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People on December 19, 2010 and Article 15 of that declaration reads in part: Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations, which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information; and
WHEREAS, the area now known as Mendocino County has been developed upon the ancestral homelands of Indigenous Peoples’ who have continuously inhabited, utilized and cared for the land since time immemorial; and
WHEREAS, Indigenous Peoples’ across the United States, in the State of California and in the County of Mendocino, were subjected to genocidal policies that often deprived them of their ancestral lands, their freedom and their lives; and sought to eradicate the language, culture, social and family ties of Indigenous Peoples; and
WHEREAS, numerous Tribal governments and entities have survived in the area now known as Mendocino County and have worked to preserve and revive traditional Tribal practices and disseminate knowledge of them to the wider community; and
WHEREAS, Mendocino County recognizes and values the many contributions, both historical and contemporary, made to our community through Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge, philosophy, culture, art and labor; and
WHEREAS, Mendocino County wishes to formally recognize, honor and celebrate the thriving diverse Tribal governments, entities and cultures of the Indigenous Peoples’ of this region.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Supervisors of the County of Mendocino, hereby declares that henceforth the second Monday in October shall be known as: “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in Mendocino County
Dated: August 20, 2019
Carre Brown, Chair