PORT ANGELES – Next Monday is Columbus Day, a federal holiday. But in Port Angeles, starting now, the second Monday in October will officially be known as Indigenous People’s Day.
A proclamation will be read during tonight’s City Council meeting declaring it so, as a way of promoting “tolerance, understanding and friendship, and to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination stemming from colonization.”
It’s not a new idea. According to the proclamation, the idea of Indigenous People’s Day was first proposed in 1977 by a delegation of Native nations at a United Nations-sponsored Conference. And in 2011, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians passed a resolution to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day.
The idea is also not without a certain amount of controversy. When the issue was voted on last week by members of the City Council it passed 5-1, with Jim Moran abstaining and Cherie Kidd opposed.
Christopher Columbus was Italian and a Catholic, and there are groups in America who see Columbus Day as a day to celebrate their own heritage.
Moran’s thoughts on the matter were similar to Kidd’s, but he chose to abstain rather than vote.