Columbus Day is about to go the way of the dinosaur in Seattle, where the city is expected to replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Richard Walker of Indian Country Today reports that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray anticipates signing a resolution to that effect on Oct. 13. Walker’s story says Matt Remle, a Hunkpapa Lakota educator, lobbied the city council for the change. The council was expected to approve the resolution Sept. 2, but held off because the mayor is required to sign resolutions within 10 days of approval and Murray wants to sign it on Oct. 13 – the 2014 date for Columbus Day.
Tulalip Tribes Council member Theresa Sheldon said it’s past time to stop honoring Christopher Columbus, whose exploration of the Caribbean for Spain included enslavement, rape, mutilation and murder.
“On behalf of all our indigenous and non-indigenous ancestors who established the United States of America, it’s a true blessing and about time that all citizens of [the] USA and the City of Seattle support the changing of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day,” Sheldon said.
“Columbus fed newborn babies to his dogs. He cut off the hands of the indigenous people if they refused to be his slave[s] … [He] started a sex trade of 10- to 12-year-old girls for men of privilege to rape.”
She added, “The notion that these Indigenous Peoples had no rights under the Spanish king and their religion, so these acts of terror were acceptable, is completely un-American. We would never support such a villain today. This is the first step in correcting the true history of the United States and recognizing the serious wrongs that were done to a beautiful and loving people, the indigenous people of the [Caribbean].”
Remle, meantime, told Indian Country Today he hopes the resolution will lead Seattle Public Schools to adopt indigenous history curricula, and encourage businesses, organizations and public institutions to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day.