CHICAGO – Last month the 100th Illinois General Assembly passed a law that Gov. Rauner signed designating “the last Monday in September of each year as Indigenous Peoples Day” [House Resolution Bill 0123] into our state’s law. The law reads as follows:
Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Amends the State Commemorative Dates Act. Provides that the last Monday in September of each year is designated as Indigenous Peoples Day to be observed throughout the State as a day to recognize the contributions of indigenous peoples with suitable ceremony and fellowship designed to promote greater understanding and kinship between indigenous peoples and non-indigenous peoples of the State of Illinois. Effective immediately.
Today, we release this statement to inform our Chicago community of this news and make them aware of our position regarding this action. The American Indian Center was surprised to learn of this new bill and are disappointed that it passed. Indigenous people were not consulted during the crafting and passing of this bill. We believe that all peoples deserve respect, public comment and consultation in regards to holidays that affect us as a community. We view this as an insult and a threat to current progress made towards recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day on the Second Monday of October and a flagrant act of disrespect toward our community.
The American Indian Center supports all Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations and demonstrations occurring on the Second Monday of October throughout the State of Illinois. A state that is named after Indigenous People must be inclusive of our presence. We will continue to engage in activities that encourage the renaming of this holiday.