AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement on Indigenous Peoples’ Day:
“On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Texas Democrats stand in solidarity with the first peoples of this land, and recognize the countless important contributions Indigenous peoples have made and continue to make, in Texas and beyond.
“For more than five centuries, Indigenous peoples have faced genocide and systematic attempts at erasure through colonialism. Their survival is a feat of resilience and resistance. Today, we honor that resilience, grieve those wrongs, and stand with Indigenous peoples across our country who continue to build thriving nations. I am delighted that this year, President Biden has become the first president to federally observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in recognition that Indigenous peoples have shaped our past and will continue to shape our future.
“Today, Indigenous peoples are still facing attacks. Right now, a lawsuit that threatens to dismantle the Indian Child Welfare Act is headed to the Supreme Court — because of a case that originated with a Texas Republican judge. This is shameful. The Indian Child Welfare Act is a key tool allowing Indigenous peoples to protect their children, cultures, and communities by ensuring that when Indigenous kids wind up in the foster care system, a priority is placed on making sure those kids remain within their family or their community.
“In both the United States and Canada, ripping kids from their families to be adopted into white families or sent to boarding schools — and stripped of their language, family, and culture — was a core tactic in the systematic destruction of Indigenous communities over the past two centuries. This year has brought a reckoning on that history across North America, as over the summer, Canada grappled with the horrific discovery of mass graves of Indigenous children associated with its Indigenous boarding schools. This Republican effort to dismantle protections for Indigenous kids is a direct continuation of those genocidal assimilation policies. Texas Democrats urge the Supreme Court to do the right thing, uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act, and support Indigenous peoples’ efforts to protect their kids and their communities.
“Texas Democrats honor Indigenous cultures, peoples, and their resistance — throughout past centuries, and today. On this Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I encourage all Texans to stand with, and learn more about, the peoples and cultures native to the land we call home.”