Press Release, City of Alexandria Virginia, September 10, 2019
At its regular meeting on September 10, the Alexandria City Council unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing the second Monday in October of each year as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Alexandria joins more than 130 cities across the country that have recognized this day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day since 1994. This designation will not affect the existing federal or state holidays on the same day, which will still be known as Columbus Day.
The resolution also affirms the City’s participation in annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrations; encourages the Alexandria City Public Schools to include the teaching of Indigenous Peoples’ history with contemporary context and celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day; encourages other businesses, organizations, and public institutions to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in a meaningful way and in partnership with local Native Nations; calls on all sports organizations operating in Virginia to cease the use of Indigenous Peoples’ likenesses as mascots; and commits to continue its efforts to promote the well-being and growth of Alexandria’s Indigenous Community and Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Indigenous Peoples have been and continue to be the victims of prejudice and systematic discrimination, which perpetuates high rates of income inequality and exacerbates disproportionate health, education, and social standing. The City is committed to opposing such discrimination, promoting opportunity for persons of Indigenous descent, and fostering a welcoming, inclusive, equitable, and just community for all.
The lands that would later become known as the Americas have always been home to Indigenous Peoples, with 50,000 Indigenous Peoples in Virginia comprising at least 15 separate nations prior to the arrival of English settlers. The Commonwealth currently recognizes 11 Indigenous tribes.
The tribes that inhabited Northern Virginia and the area that is now the City of Alexandria were parts of or allies with the powerful Powhatan Confederacy. Many Indigenous People were displaced from their homelands and driven onto reservations as the English, and later American colonial settlers, pushed to occupy more land in the region. Many of the Indigenous Peoples in Virginia had been subjugated, killed, or removed by the turn of the 18th century.
For media inquiries, contact Craig Fifer, Director of Communications and Public Information, at [email protected]driava.gov or 703.746.3965.