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October 9, 2017 ANCHORAGE — Governor Bill Walker and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott today join Alaskans statewide in honoring Indigenous Peoples Day, and recognizing the history and heritage of Alaska’s First Peoples. Earlier this year, Governor Walker signed House Bill 78 into law, formally establishing the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day. In 2015 and 2016, Governor Walker issued one-year executive proclamations to make the designation.
“For centuries, Alaska’s Native Peoples have been an integral part of the spiritual, cultural, political, and historic fabric of what is now the Last Frontier,” Governor Walker said. “This official designation is merely one way we as a state can come together, and acknowledge and celebrate the monumental contributions made by First Peoples throughout history. I was incredibly honored to sign HB 78 into law, and today proudly join Alaskans everywhere in recognizing and honoring the heritage and culture of this land.”
Governor Walker signed HB 78 on June 24 in Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow) during the Nalukataq Whaling Festival. The bill was sponsored by Representative Dean Westlake (D-Kotzebue).
“The heritage and culture of our peoples is strong,” Lt. Governor Mallott said before departing to Mt. Edgecumbe High School to meet with students and discuss the importance of Alaska’s heritage. “The history of this land continues to be written by indigenous people. I am honored to be a part of it, and honored to celebrate and recognize our achievements and contributions.”