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News Release

Office of Senator Jamescita Peshlakai (LD 7)

This October 12th will be Indigenous Peoples Day after Governor Doug Ducey has signed Senator Jamescita Peshlakai’s proclamation to recognize Indigenous People in Arizona. As an Arizona State Senator and member of the Navajo Nation, Jamescita Peshlakai has launched an effort to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous People’s Day in Arizona to honor the contributions of all Indigenous Peoples. Senator Peshlakai has also partnered with the nonprofit, Indigenous Peoples' Initiative (IPI) as well as California Congresswoman Norma Torres to sponsor a bill on the federal level.

To celebrate the proclamation, Senator Jamescita Peshlakai, Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative President Dylan Baca and community members will hold an event at the Heard Museum on September 29th at 9:30 a.m.

Statement by Senator Peshlakai, “I’m grateful to our Governor for signing this proclamation. This has been an effort close to the hearts of many Indigenous people. It is time that we move beyond Columbus Day and onto a day that celebrates Indigenous people. The story of Indigenous peoples in America is often invisible or ignored. And so it is important that as Americans we find the opportunity to celebrate the histories, cultures, and resiliency of the people who comprise the 573 tribal nations who live today within the United States. The declaration of an Indigenous People's Day for the state of Arizona and the nation will reinforce the foundation of our democracy by celebrating the rich fabric of First Americans. Our next step will now be making this a permanent change in Arizona by passing my sponsored bill in the coming 2021 legislative session.”

Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative President Dylan Baca added, "I’m thrilled that this October 12th will be recognized as Indigenous Peoples Day in Arizona. I founded the Indigenous Peoples' Initiative to educate and advocate on behalf of Indigenous Peoples' to ensure that Native Americans are accurately represented. Now we must work to make this a permanent holiday in Arizona.” 

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