Arizona Celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day

The State of Arizona has celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day since 2016.  The day was set aside in honoring the Native American people in celebrating their culture and histories.  On September 4th, 2020, Arizona Governor Ducey officially signed a Proclamation making October 12th Indigenous Peoples Day in Arizona.   The proclamation recognizes the Native America people and communities of Arizona; however, does not replace Columbus Day as a state holiday but will be observed simultaneously.   The Proclamation is a huge millstone and big step for Tribal Indigenous communities of Arizona.

Arizona has 22 Tribal communities and is the second largest State in the US with Tribal Reservations; therefore, the Proclamation recognizes historic, cultural contributions and contemporary significance of Indigenous people.  In addition, it rejects oppression against under-represented groups, recognizes Indigenous people as the first inhabitant of the Americas and acknowledges the historic injustices suffered by Indigenous people.


Columbus Day is observed every October in most states as a State Holiday.  Currently, the Native Communities do not celebrate Columbus Day.  For Native American Indians and/or Indigenous people of Americas, Columbus Day has long been a hurtful event.  It conjures the violent history of 500 years of colonial oppression at the hands of the European explorers and those who settle in America.  A history with wounds that run deep today.  The Italian explorer Christopher Columbus is credited with being the first European to arrive in America; however, the Native American Indigenous people see this day as genocide and Columbus is not recognized as a hero. While many Italians recognize this day as a value of discovery, celebration of their heritage and in search of the American dream for their people; it has been controversial to the Indigenous people of America.

Ways to Celebrate and Learn

With a significant amount of HSC foster families having Native placements, we would encourage all foster families to explore and help our children understand the positive significance of Indigenous Peoples Day.  There are many resources to help your child learn their cultural and Tribal history online or in Tribal community museums.  Many Tribes are offering special arts and cultural presentations outdoors and with caution.  The Heard Museum is offering outside live musical performance, Facebook live presentations by Native communities, Mask making videos on YouTube, exclusive virtual screening of the new film, Gather 2020.  Activities start from 10 AM through the evening.

Visit the Heard Museum website at:

Please contact HSC for additional information or resources to help your child become familiar or celebrate Indigenous People Day in Arizona.