Virginia is the newest state to choose to observe Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Columbus Day.
Governor Ralph Northam announced on Friday that Oct. 12 will now be observed as Indigenous Peoples' Day in Virginia this year.
For the first time in Virginia history, we are recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day in our Commonwealth—this year on Monday, October 12.— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) October 9, 2020
This is a day to celebrate our tribal communities and promote reconciliation, healing, and continued friendship with Virginia’s Indian tribes. pic.twitter.com/etLPiYgKPv
“As a country and as a Commonwealth, 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—and they have suffered historic injustices as a result,” said Northam.
Northam said that Indigenous Peoples' Day celebrates the resilience of Virginia’s tribal communities and promotes reconciliation, healing and continued friendships with Virginia’s Indian tribes.
Virginia is home to 11 state-recognized Indian tribes, including the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe, Chickahominy Indian Tribe, Chickahominy Indians Eastern Division, Mattaponi Indian Tribe, Monacan Indian Nation, Nansemond Indian Tribe, Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia, Rappahannock Tribe and the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe. Seven of these tribes are federally recognized.
“The Rappahannock’s are so grateful to our Governor for the work he has done to restore honor to our tribes and equality to all people,” said Chief Anne Richardson of the Rappahannock Tribe. “I believe he is a profound reflection of the intent of the founding fathers' values when this country was established.”
Virginia will open Machicomoco State Park, the Commonwealth’s 40th state park later this month. It will be the first park devoted to interpreting the experiences and history of Virginia’s Indian tribes and the Algonquin nation.
“This represents an important step forward in our work to build an inclusive Commonwealth, and I hope all Virginians will join me in honoring Virginia’s native people," said Northam.