Legislation designates October as Filipino American History Month


October will be Filipino American History Month in Alaska if Gov. Mike Dunleavy approves a bill that passed the state House and Senate unanimously.

House Bill 23, from Anchorage Rep. Genevieve Mina, is largely ceremonial — it does not declare an official holiday or require schools to teach lessons on Filipino American history — but supporters testified that passage of the bill would be an important honor.

The first recorded Filipino visitor to Alaska arrived in 1788, and immigrants from the Philippines were critical to the operations of salmon canneries in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly in Southeast Alaska.

More immigrants come to Alaska from the Philippines than from any other country, but the state’s history of recognizing Philippine accomplishments is mixed. The Glenn Highway, one of the state’s most prominent roadways, is named in honor of a war criminal who tortured Filipinos during the 20th century American occupation of the Philippines.

HB 23 now advances to Dunleavy’s desk for consideration. It passed the House without opposition in March before winning Senate approval on May 12.

The Alaska Beacon is an independent, donor-funded news organization. Alaskabeacon.com.


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