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Mayor Charlie Hales tomorrow will ask Portland City Council to consider a resolution declaring the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the City of Portland, reaffirming the City’s commitment to promoting the prosperity and well-being of Portland’s American Indian, Alaska Native, and Indigenous communities.
Portland is home to the ninth-largest Native American population in the United States, and its urban Native community is descended from more than 200 tribes. The history of indigenous communities in Portland is woven into the fabric of the City; a shared commitment to environmental stewardship and love of place continue to make Portland a leader in sustainability and livability.
“The movement to make this day a reality in the U.S began decades ago, so this Resolution is long overdue,” said Dante James, director of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights. “I am pleased that Portland is honoring the history, spirit and contributions of American Indian communities with whom we share our city and region.”
Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first proposed in 1977 by the delegation of Native Nations to the United Nations. It wasn’t until 2010 that the United States endorsed a United Nations declaration that recognized “indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of … their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources.”
“The area now known as the City of Portland rests on the homelands and traditional territory of many neighboring tribal nations,” said Se-ah-dom Edmo, Commissioner for the Human Rights Commission. “Treaties with Tribes are the legal foundation of this country; they give legal permission for the United States to exist on this land, and I am proud to serve a City that is taking steps to honor those foundational legal commitments.”
On Wednesday, Edmo and representatives from the Native American Youth and Family Center, Grand Ronde Tribal Council, Columbia River treaty tribes will testify before Council, and Carlos McNair of the Klamath Tribes will be offering an honor song.
If the Resolution is adopted by Council, the City of Portland will recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Portland on Monday, Oct. 12.
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