Assembly member Roger Hernández (D – West Covina) announced Assembly Bill 1973 passed the Senate Governmental Organization Committee on a 10-0 bi-partisan vote. AB 1973 elevates the recognition of Native American Day from a proclamation to an official state holiday, recognized annually on the fourth Friday of September.
“It is an honor for this bill to move one step closer in recognizing Native Americans in California. As with any recognized holiday, Californians will be able to share, celebrate and honor the contributions of Native Americans across this state. This measure recognizes the significant role of California’s native peoples by establishing an official, unpaid state holiday,” stated Hernández.
In 1968, California recognized the contributions of Native Americans by establishing American Indian Day. In 1998, the California Legislature passed AB 1953, which changed the name to Native American Day, and authorized public schools to incorporate the contributions of Native American peoples in school curriculum.
With the passage of this bill, Native American Day will hold the same status as Lincoln’s Birthday and Columbus Day as an unpaid holiday. Currently, the cities of Berkeley, Nevada City, Santa Cruz, and Sebastopol observe Indigenous People Day, to recognize the cultural contributions of Native Americans.
“The contributions of the Native American people demonstrate our rich history and add to the diverse ethnic fabric of our great state. This holiday has been long overdue, it is time to honor those individuals who played a major part in our history,” said Hernández.