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Indigenous People’s Day Legislation Awaits Governor’s Signature

Photo Credit: State of Alaska office (2017)

A bill recognizing “Indigenous People’s Day” in Alaska is headed to Governor Bill Walker’s desk.

HB 78 passed 18-to-1 in the Senate on Sunday, April 16, following February passage in the House by a vote of 31 to 7. It would name the second Monday in October “Indigenous People’s Day.”

The bill was sponsored by Representative Dean Westlake of Kiana. In a release, Westlake said it is a “small but significant honor to the culture and history of Alaska’s First People.” He also emphasized that the day will not replace Columbus Day but focus on “intermingling of cultures,” and a coming together to celebrate Alaska’s diverse history.

Governor Bill Walker has made proclamations the past two years to recognize “Indigenous People’s Day,” in addition to being celebrated in the Municipality of Anchorage. HB 78 aims to establish official statewide recognition.