Alexandria, VA – The City of Alexandria recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, dropping Columbus Day celebrations. The second Monday of October has been officially renamed Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“It’s just very empowering,” said Opal Boyer, member of the Yavapai-Apache Nation from Arizona, and program specialist with the Administration for Native Americans (ANA). “So often Native people are invisible in society and so are our issues.”
With a 7-0 vote for the name change, Alexandria joins over 130 cities across the country that celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day such as Berkeley, Austin, Nashville and Los Angeles. The call for change was brought forward by Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennet-Parker and Councilor Mo Seifeldein in a memorandum on July 12. To make sure the Proclamation was accurate, Seifeldein’s staff reached out to Boyer, as well as many others who Seifeldein thanked in the oral council held on Sept. 10.
The renaming will provide an opportunity to acknowledge the overlooked history of oppression and the decimation of Native Americans. Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day will help recognize Native American communities, culture and contributions made to our country.
According to the resolution for recognizing the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, “In Virginia schools, Indigenous history is taught insofar as it relates to the eventual European colonization.” The resolution goes on to state that public schools in the City of Alexandria are strongly encouraged to teach the history of the holiday.
“Our colleagues in the town of Dumfries made this change so we’re not the first in Northern Virginia,” said Bennet-Parker. “I think Falls Church has done this as well and elsewhere in the Commonwealth, but I think we’re one of the first in Northern Virginia and potentially in the state.”
At the conclusion of Tuesday night’s council meeting, Seifeldein’s motion to amend the city council’s October calendar to reflect the renaming was unanimously adopted.