Arizona Legislature Indigenous Peoples Caucus
The members of the Indigenous Peoples Caucus at the Arizona Legislature released the following statements today on the celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day.
Senator Jamescita Peshlakai (D-Cameron)
“The Americas have always been home to our indigenous people. It was not 'discovered' because we were placed here by our creator. Arizona ought to have led 'Indigenous Peoples Day' when I first introduced this legislation in 2013. I will be reintroducing this bill during the upcoming 2020 session. Columbus 'discovery' began the centuries of colonization and destruction of our indigenous land and culture. He should not be celebrated for his role in the genocide of countless native populations. I am looking forward once again for the opportunity next session to right this terrible wrong.”
Representative Jennifer Jermaine (D-Chandler)
"My family is spending Indigenous Peoples Day celebrating our Ojibwe culture and learning about other Indigenous cultures here in Arizona. We are honoring the original inhabitants of this land and remembering the resilience of our ancestors. Thank you to Puente Human Rights Movement for hosting today's festivities in Phoenix."
Senator Victoria Steele (D-Tucson)
"I am proud to honor Indigenous Peoples Day to lift up the experiences of Native people who are still being mistreated, abused and ignored. It is not right to honor a figure who colonized, enslaved and massacred thousands of Indigenous People in the Americas. Instead, on Indigenous People’s Day we remember the dark side of America’s origin story and recommit ourselves to heal the wounds of our people."
Senator Sally Ann Gonzalez (D-Tucson)
“It’s a beautiful day to be Indigenous! Twenty-six years ago, a movement started to take back our country, to take back our heritage, to take back our Indigenous names and to bring back respect to the Indigenous people of the Americas. I will continue on this path until Arizona makes this day a holiday to celebrate all of the Indigenous people of America and their contributions to this country!“
Representative Arlando Teller (D-Chinle)
“Every day is Indigenous Peoples Day, but today we celebrate 500 years of survival. We are rich in cultural heritage and hold sacred bundles representing generations of prayers assuring our children's path toward livelihood. As a grandson of a Navajo Code Talker, we mustn't forget Grandpa Tah's legacy and all warriors who have valiantly fought for freedom. Every day is Indigenous Peoples Day.”