SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Mayor Ron Nirenberg has proclaimed Monday, October 14, “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in San Antonio.

“While indigenous people have endured past injustices, they continue to emphasize a respect for land, natural resources and cooperation among neighbors,” said Nirenberg as he read the proclamation at the city council meeting last Thursday.

He asked San Antonio residents to honor the indigenous people next Monday.

“Indigenous people are some of the earliest known inhabitants of our city and played a critical role in shaping the long, rich history of San Antonio,” said Nirenberg.

Using a hand drum, Diana Uriegas performed a brief Four Directions Native American ceremony. Antonio Diaz, founder of the Texas Indigenous Council, then thanked the mayor and city council.

“I hope and pray that my ancestors beneath me are joyful today,” he said.

He told the city council that Native Americans are coming forward now to tell their own stories.

“They have not been told by us. They’ve been told by our oppressors, they’ve been told by our occupiers, they’ve been told by our colonizers,” he said.

October 14, 2019 is a federal holiday commemorating the arrival of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. The national holiday is observed every second Monday of October, but Columbus Day has been surrounded by controversy in recent years with historians raising questions about whether he really discovered America, and Native Americans criticizing his exploitation of indigenous people.

Columbus may not have discovered the Americas, but his  subsequent voyages ushered in an era of exploration of North and South America.

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