Mayor Murray today signed a resolution that honors indigenous peoples by declaring the second Monday in October “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in Seattle.
“Seattle sits on the homelands of many tribal nations,” Murray said at a ceremony surrounded by tribal leaders and City councilmembers. “We have many ongoing works with our neighbor tribes, and we welcome the tens of thousands of American Indians and Alaska Natives who have come to call this city home. Today’s commemoration is intended to spark a productive conversation about the contributions of indigenous peoples, and, most importantly, their continued involvement in the cultural fabric of our community and the entire country.”
“I believe that what makes Seattle so special, so unique, is that we are bold enough to admit the shortcomings of our history in order to achieve the realization of our dreams,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “This has been an educational opportunity for our city and across the country. I believe that in honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we are honoring the best in ourselves. We are being open-minded, we are listening to each other and we are celebrating the triumphs and values of every oppressed group. We are celebrating that human spirit that says, ‘We matter and we shall be treated fairly.’”
“By passing this resolution, the City has demonstrated to the original inhabitants of this territory that the City values their history, culture, and welfare, as well as their contributions to local economy as attorneys, fishermen, doctors, construction workers, and entrepreneurs,” said David Bean, a Puyallup Tribal councilmember.
Murray underscored the importance of mutual understanding and respect between all people of the city.
“Today is not intended to take anything away from any other community or group in Seattle,” he said. “We are not removing any other designation or holiday in Seattle. We respect and honor all our city’s cultural traditions, community groups and history, including Italian-Americans.”
At today’s ceremony, the mayor also noted that Chairman Leonard Forsman of the Suquamish Tribe has been appointed to serve on the Central Waterfront Steering Committee.
“We welcome Chairman Forsman to that committee and look forward to our continuing work with tribal peoples on the historic waterfront,” said Murray.
The committee and waterfront design teams will work extensively with tribes to help ensure that the tribal roots of the place and the continued tribal presence in the area are reflected in the design of the new waterfront, Murray said. Murray also announced a new public art project on the waterfront that will recognize and reflect the Coast Salish tribes’ historic connection to the region.
In addition, Murray announced the appointment of Claudia Kauffman, former state senator and current intergovernmental liaison for the Muckleshoot Tribe, to serve as board chair of the Seattle Indian Services Commission.
“Claudia will help revitalize and rebuild the Seattle Indian Services Commission to ensure that our urban Indian residents are well served and represented,” said Murray.