WHEREAS, the Indigenous Peoples of the lands that would later become known as Alaska have occupied these lands since time immemorial, and Alaska is built upon the homelands and communities of the Indigenous Peoples of this region, without whom the building of the state would not be possible; and
WHEREAS, we value the many contributions made to our communities through Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge, labor, technology, science, philosophy, arts, and the deep cultural contribution that has substantially shaped the character of Alaska; and
WHEREAS, the State recognizes the fact that Alaska is one “big village,” with over 16 percent of the State population having indigenous heritage – the highest percentage among all the United States; and
WHEREAS, the State opposes systematic racism toward Indigenous Peoples of Alaska or any Alaskans of any origin and promotes policies and practices that reflect the experiences of Indigenous Peoples, ensure greater access and opportunity, and honor our nation’s indigenous roots, history, and contributions; and
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, in 2011 the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, representing 59 Tribes from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Northern California, Western Montana, and some Alaskan Tribes, passed resolution #11-57 to “Support to Change Columbus Day (2nd Monday of October) to Indigenous Peoples’ Day;” and
WHEREAS, the State of Alaska joins a growing number of cities that have recognized the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day, creating an opportunity to promote appreciation, tolerance, understanding, friendship, and partnerships among Indigenous Peoples and all Alaskans.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Bill Walker, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim October 12, 2015 as:
Indigenous Peoples Day
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to celebrate the thriving cultures and values of the Indigenous Peoples of our region and to continue efforts to promote the well-being and growth of Alaska’s Indigenous community.
Dated: October 9, 2015
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LEONARD PELTIER’S MESSAGE FROM THE PENITENTIARY ON HIS 71ST BIRTHDAY