Two more states change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day
The legislatures of both states passed bills last week that would change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“It’s time to stop celebrating a man whose arrival brought death, disease, and slavery to hundreds of thousands, and start honoring the people who lived here long before,” Oami Amarasingham told the Bangor Daily News after the bill passed.
Rep. Debbie Ingram, who introduced the bill in Vermont said it is a “Step to right, or at least acknowledge, the many wrongs perpetrated on our Native American brothers & sisters.” “Vermont was founded and built upon lands whose original inhabitants were the Abenaki people and honors them and their ancestors,” Vermont’s bill says.
“The establishment of this holiday will aid in the cultural development of Vermont’s recognized tribes, while enabling all indigenous peoples in Vermont and elsewhere to move forward and formulate positive outcomes, from the history of colonization.” But the bill is just a formality for the state.
Vermont has already been celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day for nearly three years after Gov. Peter Sumlin signed a proclamation encouraging residents to “Recognize the sacrifice and contributions of the First Peoples of this land.” Across the US, communities have been pushing for the same shift.
“Enacting Indigenous People’s Day sends an important message of reconciliation and will serve as a reminder of our state’s proud native history.” Alaska, Minnesota, and Oregon have already left Columbus behind.
The university president said that too many, the murals were “Blind to the consequences of Columbus’ voyage for the indigenous peoples who inhabited this ‘new’ world and at worst demeaning towards them.”