Portland to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland has joined the list of cities marking the second Monday in October as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

A resolution unanimously approved by council Wednesday honors the contributions of Native Americans in the Portland area and says the city has a responsibility to oppose “systemic racism” toward indigenous people and promote their well-being.

It’s no coincidence that it falls on the same date as the federal Columbus Day holiday, established in 1937 to commemorate Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas in 1492. Many Native Americans say the holiday is a painful reminder of oppression.

“Christopher Columbus — the Columbus dude — was not English,” British-born City Commissioner Amanda Fritz said before her vote. “I’m so happy he was not English because there are so many things that I apologize for that my ancestors did, including the subsequent invasion of this country and the genocide that happened.”

Minneapolis and Seattle approved similar resolutions last year, and some smaller cities followed. In Seattle, some Italian-Americans criticized the move, saying it disregarded their heritage. Nobody testified against the Portland declaration.

Representative from several tribes testified in favor, describing it as a way to honor those with indigenous ancestry, help heal old wounds and educate Portland residents about Native American culture.

“The European arrival in the Americas certainly was pivotal in history, however it was far from its beginning,” said Jeremy FiveCrows of the Nez Perce Tribe. “For far too long, thousands of years of indigenous culture, history, learning and wisdom has been dismissed or ignored as prehistory that has nothing to do with today.”

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 22

Here’s what to expect this week.

Participants in a pro-choice abortion rally gather outside the Governor’s Residence on Saturday to demand a pro-life flag flying at the entrance be taken down. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Pro-choice abortion protesters march to Governor’s Residence to demand removal of pro-life flag

Rally on second anniversary of U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision also focuses on fall election.

Eddie Petrie shovels gravel into a mine cart as fast as possible during the men’s hand mucking competition as part of Juneau Gold Rush Days on Saturday at Savikko Park. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Mucking, trucking, chucking and yukking it up at Juneau Gold Rush Days

Logging competitions, live music, other events continue Sunday at Savikko Park.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, June 20, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Pins supporting the repeal of ranked choice voting are seen on April 20 at the Republican state convention in Anchorage. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
State judge upholds most fines against group seeking repeal of Alaska ranked choice voting

An Anchorage Superior Court judge has ruled that opponents of Alaska’s ranked… Continue reading

Joshua Midgett and Kelsey Bryce Riker appear on stage as the emcees for MixCast 2023 at the Crystal Saloon. (Photo courtesy Juneau Ghost Light Theatre)
And now for someone completely different: Familiar faces show new personas at annual MixCast cabaret

Fundraiser for Juneau Ghost Light Theatre on Saturday taking place amidst week of local Pride events

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire
A section of Angoon along the coast is seen on June 14. Angoon was destroyed by the U.S. Navy in 1882; here is where they first pulled up to shore.
Long-awaited U.S. Navy apology for 1882 bombardment will bring healing to Angoon

“How many times has our government apologized to any American Native group?”

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon announced this week she plans to seek a third three-year term. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Mayor Beth Weldon seeking third term amidst personal and political challenges

Low mill rate, more housing cited by lifelong Juneau resident as achievements during past term.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 19, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read