Monday, October 12, will mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day in greater Portland following a unanimous vote by the Metro Council. The council resolution recognizes "the greater Portland area is built upon the ancestral homelands, villages and traditional use areas of the Indigenous People and tribes of this region who have been caretakers of these lands we cherish since time immemorial."
Indigenous People’s Day will now be celebrated in greater Portland every year on the second Monday of October.
The resolution acknowledges the United States’ history of violence against Indigenous People, including forced migration, broken treaties and relocation — wrongs that have taken place in Oregon as much as in other parts of the country.
“When I think of the work of Metro, I see we have so much to accomplish in front of us in terms of displacement,” said Councilor Christine Lewis. “Displacement on all scales is part and parcel to colonialism. It’s part of a painful history across this country and in the northwest in particular but this Monday and every Indigenous People’s Day thereafter we have an opportunity to take time to learn and to develop tools to take action.”
The proclamation also emphasizes the historical and contemporary contributions and innovations of Indigenous People to the arts, education, health, economic development, environmental stewardship and civic community that make the greater Portland area and Oregon a better place to live and work.
“We need to continue to understand that we’re borrowing land from future generations,” said Councilor Sam Chase. “Stewarding and taking care of our land is such an important principle that was held by the native peoples who were here before us, and I hope that will be one area in which can continue to do work.”
The second Monday in October has been observed in the United States as “Columbus Day” in the United States since 1971. The Metro resolution states that proclaiming it Indigenous People’s Day “transforms a celebration of colonialism, conquest, enslavement and genocide into a commitment to emphasize and realize a new future through partnerships and celebration of the enduring traditions, languages, governments and histories of Indigenous People.”
This story has been updated to quote the proclamation in the first paragraph.