Rep. Roberto Gonzales
SANTA FE–By a vote of 70-0, the New Mexico House of Representatives approved a measure, which would seek the designation of the national “Native American Heritage Day” as a federal public holiday.
House Memorial 4 sponsored by Rep. Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales, D-Taos) encourages the state’s congressional delegation to advocate for the legal public holiday in honor of Native American people.
This memorial recognizes Native Americans’ historic and contemporary experiences and their substantial contributions to the United States’ cultural, artistic, economic, social, religious, and political landscapes.
The federal government established the fourth Friday in November every year as “Native American Heritage Day.”
Gonzales, whose district includes the Taos Pueblo, said one of his constituents proposed the idea for a public holiday.
“This is something that is way overdue, especially when you see the other holidays that we already have,” Gonzales said. “Native Americans were the first inhabitants of the United States and there is a strong history behind this. We will be working with our congressional delegation to see this pushed forward and become a reality.”
HM 4 states that declaring this day as a legal public holiday would provide more opportunity to educate Americans and correct misunderstandings about indigenous cultures, and to celebrate Native Americans’ contributions to the United States.
“Considering the Native American history in our great country, it is only proper and long overdue that we honor and recognize their survival through all their challenges endured and overcome,” said Chair of the House Health, Government and Indian Affairs Committee Rep. James Roger Madalena, D-Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Juan.