Rep. Lewis Seeks To Proclaim Second Monday in October As Indigenous People Day

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FRAMINGHAM – Ashland & Framingham State Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis files in 2019 a bill with the Massachusetts House of Representatives to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.

The bill has yet to pass.

House, No. 3665, which is support by Rep. Maria Robinson calls for an annual proclamation by the Governor to designate the second Monday in October as indigenous people’s day. State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.

On January 22, 2019, the bill was referred to the committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. A hearing was held in spring 2019.

Specifically the bill calls for “Chapter 6 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 12V and inserting in place thereof the following section:– Section 12V. The governor shall annually issue a proclamation setting apart the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day and recommending that it be observed by the people, with appropriate exercises in the schools and otherwise, to acknowledge the history of genocide and discrimination against Indigenous peoples, and to recognize and celebrate the thriving cultures and continued resistance and resilience of Indigenous peoples and their tribal nations.”

Lewis said in October 2019, “While many calendars mark the second Monday in October as Columbus Day, there is a growing and important movement to shift this holiday to instead celebrate the past and current culture, history, and contributions of the Indigenous people whose land Christopher Columbus and the other European colonizers invaded.”

Rep. Lewis said in October 2019 “I acknowledge the role that Christopher Columbus plays in our national psyche, and for Italian-Americans like myself, the special place it gives us in American history. However, the reality of his time in the Americas and his intentional role in terrorizing the native peoples he came in contact with cannot be ignored. It is hard to accept that the things we learned in grade school were never true, but we have an obligation to history and to our children to move beyond the outdated and oversimplified version of history many of us were taught. The man we have been celebrating since the 1930’s was a conqueror, whose actions brought about centuries of genocide and discrimination against Indigenous peoples across the Americas. He instituted brutal tactics to subjugate those he encountered, treating those encountered as less than human, raping them and their land for his own profit. Even by the standards of his own day, his brutality was such that he was stripped of his title and sent back to Spain in shackles.”

“It all just begs the question: why hasn’t Massachusetts already joined red, blue, and purple states and cities in celebrating the thriving cultures that existed in the Americas before and after Columbus by replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day? States like Vermont, Maine, New Mexico, Alaska, Oregon, Minnesota, and Hawaii, and cities like Seattle, Minneapolis, Fargo, Boise, and Kansas City?,” said Rep. Lewis last October. “Let us instead teach our children about the true history of European Colonialism, Indigenous Genocide and their long-lasting impacts on Indigenous communities across the country. Let us instead celebrate the thriving cultures and resilience of the Wampanoag, Massachusetts, Nipmuck, Pennacook, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Quinnipiac, and other tribes on whose lands we reside and who continue to fight for their rights, equity, and well-being,” said the State Represenative to SOURCE about his bill last Columbus Day weekend.

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