Arizona seeks to honor Native Americans

PHOENIX-Recently, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed SB 1235, officially establishing June 2 as an Arizona holiday, Native American Day, and legislation unanimously passed in the state senate to name three Arizona highways after Native American veterans.

The sponsor of the bill regarding Native American Day, Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai said, "Our Indigenous people have called these lands home for millennia, from the Four Corners to the Colorado delta and everywhere in between. Our ancestors built towering cliff dwellings and the great canals that still irrigate the Valley of the Sun. We have fought overseas for our country and we drive innovation that will lead Arizona forward."

The first celebration of the bill will be in 2019, and Peshlakai has said that the day will present an opportunity for Arizona's 22 Indigenous tribes to celebrate their heritage, discuss issues on the reservations, and educate non-Natives about the tribes' cultural beauty and the obstacles they face.

Three Arizona highways will be renamed. U.S. Route 89 between Flagstaff and the Utah state line will be the Native American Veterans Highway; portions of Arizona Highway 264 running through the Navajo Nation will be called the Navajo Code Talkers Highway, while portions going through the Hopi reservation would be named the Hopi Code Talkers Highway; and U.S. Route 160 between the New Mexico state line and the junction with Route 89 will become the Native American Women Veterans Highway.

Approximately 11,000 Native veterans reside in Arizona.

 
 
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