(KTXL) — In an effort to recognize the contributions of Native Americans to the Sacramento area and the greater country, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day every October starting in 2023.
The board voted unanimously to designate the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
•Video Above: Coalition of Miwok tribes requests removal of Serra statue (From July 2021)
The date was formerly observed as Columbus Day, but in recent years, California and the federal government have made the change, and Sacramento County is now following the same step.
Removal of statues discriminatory to Native Americans
In recent years, the Sacramento area has seen several changes made to remove monuments that are considered racist and discriminatory to Native Americans, and on at least one occasion, to replace a statue with one that honors the Indigenous People of the region.
In the summer of 2020, the United States and the world saw massive protests against racism after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after being pinned down by police officers in Minneapolis.
That summer, Sutter Hospital in Midtown Sacramento removed a statue of John Sutter, a man who colonized the Sacramento region and was involved in the slavery and forced labor of Native Americans.
California’s legislature also removed a statue of Christopher Columbus from the state Capitol, a monument that had sat in the rotunda since 1883.
Protesters knocked down a statue of Junipero Serra in Capitol Park, a priest who founded the first California Missions and started centuries of abuse and punishment against the state’s Native American population.
The place where the statue of Serra stood has been empty ever since, with plans approved by the Legislature and governor to erect a statue of William Franklin, a member of the Miwok who advocated for Native Americans across California.
The lawmaker who introduced the bill is James Ramos, California’s first, and as of spring 2023, the only Native American elected to the state legislature.