SANTA FE – Mayor Javier Gonzales quietly proclaimed “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in Santa Fe to be the second Monday in October – the same day that Columbus Day is recognized as a federal holiday.
No announcement came from the city, whose employees had Monday off for Columbus Day, until Tuesday, when the proclamation was read by City Councilor Ron Trujillo during a 5 p.m. Public Works Committee meeting.
Trujillo said he knew nothing of the resolution, but was only asked to read it into the record. He said it’s within the mayor’s authority to issue proclamations, which don’t formally establish policy, without approval of the governing body. The mayor’s spokesman did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Last week, Albuquerque City Council President Rey Garduño proclaimed that Albuquerque would celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day the second Monday in October from now on.
Other councilors now say they will push for censuring Garduño for reading the proclamation at the start of a council meeting rather than introducing the idea through the normal legislative process that would have allowed for a vote and extended debate.
A protest march against the celebration of Columbus Day organized by the Native American advocacy group Red Nation was held in the Duke City on Monday, and Garduño participated.
Leaders of the march say Christopher Columbus didn’t “discover” anything when he sailed west from Spain in 1492 and contend he ushered in the slave trade and brought genocide to the native people of the Americas.
Gonzales’ proclamation recognizes that the city was built on land occupied by Native Americans and that they have made “deep cultural contributions that have considerably shaped the character” of the city, including in the arts, philosophy, science and technology.
It also affirms the city’s “commitment to promote the well-being and growth of our City’s American Indian and Indigenous community,” and encourages local institutions, businesses, organizations, and citizens to recognize the day honoring the continent’s first residents.
Several Native American pueblos are within an hour’s drive of the city.
A number of American cities – including Minneapolis, Portland, Ore., and Seattle – have passed resolutions designating the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Gonzales’ proclamation comes after Indian protests at this year’s Santa Fe Fiesta in September. The annual event commemorates the Spanish reoccupation of northern New Mexico 12 years after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.