Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam Proclaims Monday as Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Governor Ralph Northam proclaimed that Virginia is the latest state to make Monday Indigenous Peoples’ Day, while Columbus Day also remains an official state holiday.

Northam issued the proclamation and also tweeted out a video about the move, saying “For the first time in Virginia history, we are recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day in our Commonwealth—this year on Monday, October 12.”

“This is a day to celebrate our tribal communities and promote reconciliation, healing, and continued friendship with Virginia’s Indian tribes,” he continued.

“We have too often failed to live up to our commitments with those who were the first stewards of the lands we now call Virginia—now, we are taking an important step forward in our ongoing work to build a more inclusive and honest Commonwealth,” he added.

Charlottesville, which does not observe Columbus Day, and Falls Church were the first Virginia localities to celebrate it in 2017. Alexandria and Richmond voted to observe it last year for the first time.

The movement to change the subject of traditional Columbus Day celebrations to those of Indigenous Americans had only two cities, Berkeley and Santa Cruz, Calif., until 2015 when the list of jurisdictions making the switch began to grow.

Not everybody is on board with the move, as was evident by replies to Northam’s tweet. One reply that has received over 35 likes said, “Happy Columbus Day to all my fellow Americans out there!”

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