Fresno City Hall officially recognizes Indigenous Peoples' Day for 1st time

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno is among a growing list of cities, shifting focus from the federal holiday Columbus Day and instead celebrating the contributions of native americans.

"We were second-class citizens, third-class citizens and they tried to annihilate us by manifest destiny," says Frank Gonzalez.

Still around. Even as they faced discrimination, assimilation, and forced relocation.

Audrey M. Osborne is a member of the Chemehuevi Tribe and is thankful she has lived long enough to see this day.

"We know that we cannot go back and rewrite history, but move forward," she said. "For us, being acknowledged on this day and making this right for us is is what has made my heart happy."

At Fresno City Hall, the inaugural celebration included reflection, guest speakers, and performances.

For Erik Escovedo, the proclamation is a good first step, but he'd like to see the recognition go further.

"I'd like to see some actual legislation and an actual inclusion of indigenous people," he said.

Escovedo says the colonization of indigenous communities has caused harm and intergenerational trauma that still exists today.

"Colorism, loss of identity, loss of language," he said. "There are so many things and the things that people do to cope with those, those traumas, oftentimes aren't in healthy ways. But there are many people that are coping in healthy ways, maintaining ceremony, maintaining language."

California is honoring Indigenous Peoples' day for the third year.

On Monday, Gov. Newsom announced a partnership that invites Native American families across the state to participate in meetings, provide a platform to correct the narrative, and promote healing.
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