NEWS: Governor Walker to Sign Legislation Saturday Designating Indigenous Peoples Day in Alaska

Bill Sponsor, Rep. Dean Westlake, Will Join Governor Walker for Bill Signing in Utqiagvik

June 23, 2017

Juneau – Representative Dean Westlake (D-Kiana) will join Alaska Governor Bill Walker for a ceremony Saturday in Utgiagvik to sign House Bill 78, which designates the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day in Alaska. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Westlake and passed the Alaska State Legislature this year with overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Alaska House of Representatives and the Alaska State Senate.

“In bringing HB 78 into law, the Governor and the members of the Alaska Legislature honor our people and our culture. I believe it’s a significant gesture of respect to designate a day as Indigenous Peoples Day, and I was pleased to play a role in making this a reality,” said Rep. Westlake. “By taking the time to come to Utgiagvik to sign this bill among the people of the North Slope, the Governor is showing himself as a friend and a person of respect. I am looking forward to Saturday’s bill signing, but its October 9th I am really excited about because I plan to celebrate the first permanent Indigenous Peoples Day with my friends and family.”

For the past two years, Governor Bill Walker has issued one-year proclamations of Indigenous Peoples Day, but this year will be the first time the day is officially designated under state law. 

HB 78 passed the Alaska House of Representatives by a vote of 31-7 in February and the bill passed the State Senate by a vote of 18-1 in April. Governor Walker will sign the bill into law Saturday in Utgiagvik during Ned Arey’s Nalaukataq whale celebration.  

For more information, please contact Jesse Logan in Rep. Westlake’s office at (907) 465-3473.