The Tempe City Council unanimously voted to make Indigenous Peoples’ Day an official holiday.
During the regular city council meeting on Sept. 7th, the council adopted a “resolution approving and authorizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an official City of Tempe holiday.” This means Indigenous Peoples' Day is a paid holiday for employees in the City of Tempe, having an estimated budgetary impact of $500,000 according to the regular council meeting summary.
The motion was made by councilmember Joel Navarro and seconded by councilmember Doreen Garlid, ending with a unanimous vote in favor of the resolution from Mayor Cory Woods, Vice Mayor Jennifer Adams, Councilmember Arlene Chin, Councilmember Berdetta Hodge,and Councilmember Randy Keating.
The adaptation of the resolution is an important step forward in recognizing the Indigenous community according to Monica Yazzie, a member of Arizona States Alliance of Indigenous Peoples as well as the Office of American Indians.
In Arizona, there are 22 federally-recognized tribes. Indigenous Peoples’ Day “recognizes the legacy and impact of colonialism on Native communities, and it also celebrates the cultures, contributions, and resilience of contemporary Native peoples” according to Menjiva. There are people who “don't even think that American Indians and indigenous people exist anymore.” Yazzie said the holiday will “shine a light on the immense tribal communities that still exist.”
The holiday will be more than another paid holiday for employees. According to Yazzie by adopting the resolution, the City of Tempe is shedding light on the history of the Indigenous community.
Indigenous peoples nor showcasing anything about the mass genocide of Indigenous people. “If the history books glaze over it, then there’s no way for people to learn about it unless they have a really deep interest,” Yazzie said.
It is providing discussion on the educational level. “I just want to say that, I love that Tempe is a pioneer in things. It's about time. We are actually… discussing that right now on the school board level,” said Councilmember Hodge. “Thank you, Tempe, for putting it out there. I'm just proud to be and honored to be standing with you guys when we vote on this.”
The city of Tempe takes pride in prioritizing its land acknowledgment, a video counting the City of Tempe Native land agreement acknowledgement statement was played before the meeting began. Councilmember Garlid said the holiday is a way that Arizonans can begin speaking about Native American culture.
“Indigenous Peoples Day, a Tempe city holiday, and a day to honor the cultural heritage and history and contributions of our Native American community,” Garlid said. “ I'm really proud of our staff, our council, everybody who's worked on this.”