"Thanks to good leadership in National City, this is a first step in acknowledging that the Kumeyaay were the first people here and the chance to share our true history"
National City leaders Monday raised the Kumeyaay flag at City Hall to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day in what has been touted as a first for the county.
"The Kumeyaay tribes have been in the region since time immemorial and we are grateful that for the first time, National City will raise the Kumeyaay flag to honor that history," said Erica M. Pinto, chairwoman of Jamul Indian Village of California.
Native Americans and their allies across the country have reclaimed Oct. 12, which is the federally recognized Christopher Columbus holiday, as their own celebration. In some cities and states, Indigenous Peoples Day has been recognized with proclamations. Others, like the city of Los Angeles, have gone as far as voting to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.
"On this Indigenous Peoples Day we will see the Kumeyaay flag fly in a city that is part of our homelands," said Angela Elliott-Santos, tribal chairwoman of the Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation. "Thanks to good leadership in National City, this is a first step in acknowledging that the Kumeyaay were the first people here and the chance to share our true history."
Gov.Gavin Newsom has recognized Oct. 12 as Indigenous People's Day for the last two years and asked Californians to celebrate the state's wide representation of native people.
For the first time in the country's history, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation in commemoration of Indigenous Peoples Day this year.
The Americas were inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous communities before being colonized by the Spanish. Indigenous People's Day is intended to allow for the "celebration of the years of resilience, rebuilding of Native American identity and acknowledging (whose) land this once was here in the United States," a statement from the city reads.
"We stand in solidarity with our Native and Indigenous brothers and sisters -- especially while so many have served in the armed forces, continue to provide services to our community and have fought to be sovereign nations while fighting to keep traditions alive," said National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis.
"I'm honored to say that National City is the first city in the county to recognize the land we stand on today is Kumeyaay land."