Colorado Springs City Council president Richard Skorman has issued a formal proclamation designating October 9th, 2017 as Indigenous Peoples' Day. The move places Colorado Springs in the company of such cities as Portland, Minneapolis, and Denver, all of which have voted to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day on the federal holiday known as Columbus Day.
Unlike those cities, however, the Colorado Springs proclamation was not approved by a city council vote, but was rather proposed by councilwoman Yolanda Avila through a formal recognition process and then ratified by president Skorman, says City Council legislative analyst Sabrina Cotta.
"It's not legally binding," Cotta explains. "We do many proclamations throughout the month for various things," she adds, "it's just a way to recognize and bring attention."
Anyone can request a proclamation from city council -- some recent examples include a resolution to declare August 2017 STEM education month and numerous proclamations recognizing work anniversaries and retirements of city employees. However, activists who've been pushing for local recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day have hailed the proclamation as a victory on social media.
"We did it!" wrote moderators of the Facebook group, Abolish Columbus Day Colorado Springs, on Tuesday.
Gregg Deal, an indigenous activist and artist in Colorado Springs who has been involved with the Abolish Columbus Day group says he was excited to see the proclamation, and believed such recognition from the city was "a long-shot." Nevertheless, he says there's still more work to be done in acknowledging the contributions and the history of indigenous people in Colorado Springs. He says, moving forward, he hopes to see even "more involvement and commitment from the city so that we can continue to work and grow together."
The group says that Richard Skorman and Yolanda Avila are expected at the Garden of the Gods Rock Ledge Ranch Powwow on Saturday, September 23rd, where they will read the proclamation aloud.
Stay tuned for updates to this story.
Read the full text of the proclamation below.
This post was updated at 5:50pm on 9/20/17 to include a quote from Gregg Deal.