Udall Statement Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day
SANTA FE, N.M.—Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, issued the following statement honoring the contributions and resilience of Native Americans in New Mexico and across the country on Indigenous Peoples’ Day:
“Today, we pay tribute to the strength, resilience and contributions of Native Americans in New Mexico and across the country. As the original stewards of the land which we call home, Indigenous peoples have contributed immeasurably to the foundation of our state and nation while tirelessly defending their culture, traditions, and way of life.
“As the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and a senator representing New Mexico’s 23 Tribes and Pueblos, I have no higher honor than working alongside Tribal leaders and Native advocates every day to help move Native communities forward. Together, we have advanced legislation that reinforces the principles of sovereignty and self-government that support the federal government’s relationship with Tribes. We have taken action on the crisis of violence against Native women and girls. And we have facilitated opportunities for Native entrepreneurs, businesses and working families. As we mark this progress, we must build on our shared momentum, continue reckoning with the legacy of our country’s history – which includes many atrocities against Native people and their land – and reaffirm our respect for Tribal sovereignty.
“In particular, we must recognize and recommit to uplifting and including Native voices and representation at all levels of leadership and government. And as this nation carries out one of the most consequential elections in our lifetimes, we cannot tolerate attacks on the voting rights of Native Americans – but instead we must take action to ensure that all Native voters can make their voices heard.
“On this day, we are also confronting a tumultuous and unprecedented period in our nation’s history and in Indian Country. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the resilience of Native communities across the country but it has also served as a reminder of the federal government’s continuing trust and treaty obligations to Tribes. Even now, we are fighting to preserve the Affordable Care Act and health care access for millions of Native Americans who have been disproportionately hurt by this dangerous virus. I will continue to work alongside Tribes to defend health care for Native communities and secure additional federal pandemic relief for Tribes. And I will always be committed to partnering with Native communities to ensure our government lives up to its obligations to Tribes.”
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