National City marks Indigenous People’s Day with flag raising

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National City leaders, including Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, were joined by Jamul Band of Indians Chairwoman Erica Pinto along with Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation Chairwoman Angela Elliott-Santos, Tribal Council member Johnny EagleSpirit Elliott, and dozens of attendees when the municipality raised the Kumeyaay flag at National City Hall for Indigenous People’s Day on Oct. 11.

Traditionally, Oct. 11 has been celebrated as Columbus Day.

The symbolic flag-raising happened just five days after President Joe Biden signed a proclamation which states Indigenous People’s day “celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty, and commits to honoring the Federal Government’s trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations” and calls upon citizens to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

“We stand in solidarity with our Native and Indigenous brothers and sisters especially while so many have served in the armed forces, continue to provide services to our community and have fought to be sovereign nations while fighting to keep traditions alive,” Sotelo-Solis said at the ceremonial event.

Sotelo-Solis also said she was honored to say that National City is the first city in the county “to recognize the land we stand on today is Kumeyaay land,” and to recognize the Americas were inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous communities before colonization.

Pinto said she looks forward to others in the region following National City’s lead with future events.

“The Kumeyaay tribes have been in the region since time immemorial and we are grateful that for the first time, National City will raise the Kumeyaay flag to honor that history. Our tribe is grateful for the leadership of the mayor and city council for recognizing our tribal history by raising this flag and acknowledging the original residents of this area,” Pinto said.

Santos said the flag-raising was, symbolically, “a first step in acknowledging that the Kumeyaay were the first people here and the chance to share our true history.”

National City marks Indigenous People’s Day with flag raising