Society

Vermont To Celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Indigenous Peoples' DayIndigenous Peoples' Day

Vermont will celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day on Oct 10.

On Oct. 7, three days before the Columbus Day federal government holiday, Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont signed an executive proclamation changing the holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, WPTZ reports.

The day is "an opportunity to celebrate indigenous heritage and resiliency," the proclamation stated.

South Dakota is the only other state to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but many cities across the country do.

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On Oct. 5, Phoenix, Arizona, became the latest city to make the switch from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

Residents from Boston, Massachusetts, are calling on their city to do the same.

"The movement is really to get the record straight -- celebrate indigenous people that currently exist today in the U.S. and Boston and across the world, [and] just to recognize the true record of what happened," Danielle DeLuca, program manager at Cultural Survival, said.

A councilwoman in Cleveland, Ohio, feels the same.

"This perspective is not meant to be divisive. In fact, it’s meant to be inclusive, not to rewrite history but to tell the full story,” Yvette Simpson said before the measure to make the change was voted on; it failed to get a majority.

Among the cities that celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, or Native American Day, on Oct. 10 are Seattle, Minneapolis, Berkeley, Portland, St, Paul, Olympia, Carbarro and Albuquerque, Think Progress notes.

Vermont’s decision to adopt Indigenous Peoples’ Day is to recognize their historical significance.

“[Vermont traditionally] recognizes the historic, cultural and contemporary significance of the Indigenous Peoples of the land that later became known as the Americas, including Vermont," Shumlin's decree stated, according to WPTZ.

"The State of Vermont recognizes that it was founded and is built upon lands first inhabited by the Indigenous Peoples of this region -- the Abenaki and their ancestors and allies - and acknowledges and honors the members of the community, both past and present,” it continued.

Shumlin’s proclamation only applies to 2016, but could be issued yearly by the next governor, according to a spokesman for the Shumlin.

Sources: WPTZ, The Christian Science Monitor, Think Progress / Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

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