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Recognizing Indigenous Peoples' Day

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

UPDATE: On December 14th the Sacramento City Council unanimously voted to adopt an official City of Sacramento Land Acknowledgement that will be read at the start of all Sac City Council meetings, as well as all subsidiary committee, board, and body meetings.

What the City did

On October 12th, 2021, the Sacramento City Council voted in favor of officially recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a Sacramento City holiday. Indigenous Peoples’ Day will be celebrated on the 2nd Monday in October of each year. Chairperson Jesus Tarango of the Wilton Rancheria, the only federally recognized tribe here in Sacramento County, introduced the item and thanked Councilmember Valenzuela for inviting him to the meeting (please click here for the Wilton Rancheria’s website). He made a short but powerful statement, identifying the genocide (among other atrocities) native folx across the country, and within this county, have been made to endure. He emphasized the need for the City Council to do the work of listening to what indigenous people need, and of then providing it for them.

What is Indigenous Peoples' Day?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day acknowledges, honors, and celebrates the presence, history, and lives of indigenous folx who live in the country called the United States of America. People began celebrating this holiday in the 1970s, after the idea gained popularity at an United Nations international conference. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is not a federally recognized holiday in the United States.

Information sourced from this USA Today article

Brief introduction to the indigenous peoples of Sacramento County

The storied and extensive history of indigenous peoples in Sacramento County is far too rich and deep to be covered in any kind of comprehensive way in this brief update. Below I have included a quote summarizing the historical and present day presence of native peoples in this area:

This area [Sacramento area] was and is still the tribal land of the Nisenan people (my side of the river) located throughout the central valley, the Foothills and Southern Maidu people, and the Valley Miwok and Me-Wuk people, located on the east side of the American River, known to tribal people as the “Mokelumne” or Condor River. To the west of the American River and the south of the Sacramento River, are the Patwin people, the Wintun People and the Wintu people.

*this is a direct quote pulled from website of the Sacramento Native American Health Center - website linked here

Hold the City Council accountable

The fact that the City recognized this holiday is a very small, but hopefully meaningful step. What will really demonstrate the City’s commitment to the beliefs indicated by the adoption of this holiday is ACTION. Will they prioritize racial equity in decision-making? Will they pay specific attention to, and put meaningful and intentional effort towards, supporting the continued success of those who identify as members of a native population? We have to make sure we keep pushing for the liberation of these populations, and not allow the City Council to stop talking about them simply because they recognized a holiday.

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