STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Peshlakai released the following statement after her bill SB1235 passed out of the Senate. SB1235 would establish June 2nd as Native American Day and an official Arizona state unpaid holiday.
Currently, California, Nevada and South Dakota have declared Native American Day an official state holiday and Tennessee celebrates American Indian Day.
"I'm deeply proud that my bill to create an official state Native American Day passed out of the Senate today. Twenty-two tribes are currently recognized in Arizona and tribal reservation land covers over a quarter of the state. An estimated five to six percent of Arizona’s total population is of Native American ancestry making it the second largest Native American population in the U.S.
"Before 1924, Native Americans were not U.S. citizens and we didn't earn the right to vote in Arizona until 1948. With over 390,000 tribal members in Arizona and almost 11,000 veterans, it's long past time we recognize the contributions Native Americans have made to our state's history and the important role we play in its future. Arizona's Native American Day is a good start and I hope my colleagues in the House will approve my bill and send it to the governor."
Arizona State Sen. Jamescita Mae Peshlakai represents Legislative District 7. The culturally diverse district spans the seven counties of Apache, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Mohave, Navajo, and Pinal — including nine tribes and the communities of Fredonia, Page, Winslow, Show Low, St. Johns, Eagar, and Springerville — and is the largest legislative district in the contiguous United States.