One of California’s Largest School Districts Says Goodbye to Columbus Day in Favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Published October 20, 2017

RICHMOND, CALIFORNIA – One of California’s largest school districts, the West Contra Costa Unified School District, has replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Doug Sibley, California-Nevada Native American Ministries, UNC

The school district’s board of education voted unanimously to to make each second Tuesday of October officially Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The Inter-Tribal Council of California, the United Urban Warrior Society- California Chapter the Richmond Pow-Wow Committee, California-Nevada Committee on Native American Ministries, UNC and other allies from the community had worked with the WCCUSD Board of Education to help support and give input on making it officially Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The West Contra Costa Unified School District has over 35,000 students.

Below is the entire resolution of Indigenous Peoples’ Day passed by the board of education:

Courtney Cummings, Richmond Powwow Committee

West Contra Costa Unified School District
Resolution No. 43-1718

In Recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

WHEREAS, the idea of Indigenous People’s Day was first proposed in 1977 by a delegation of Native nations to the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas; and
WHEREAS, in an effort to reveal a more accurate historical record of the “discovery” of the United States of America, representatives from 120 Indigenous nations at the First Continental Conference on 500 years of Indian Resistance, unanimously passed a resolution to transform Columbus Day into an occasion to recognize the contributions of Indigenous people despite enormous efforts against native nations; and
WHEREAS, West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) recognizes Indigenous People and their accomplishments and contributions past and present; and
WHEREAS, WCCUSD recognizes West Contra Costa County is built upon the homelands and villages of Indigenous People, such as the Ohlone, Miwok, and Yokuts; and
WHEREAS, WCCUSD recognizes Indigenous People continue their contribution to our modern society, with the largest population of Native Americans residing in California; and
WHEREAS, honoring Christopher Columbus, who did not contribute to science but inflicted lasting historical trauma to Indigenous People, sends the wrong message to our children; and
WHEREAS, there are countless movements around the world and in the United States at the present time by Indigenous People to protect land, fight against climate destroying projects, and build viable cultural systems; and
WHEREAS, the European settlers were aided in their survival by the teachings of this country’s first inhabitants and the contributions of the Native Americans to this nation’s government, history, and culture are as numerous and varied as the tribes themselves; and
WHEREAS, California Education Code section 5124.5 specifically calls for instruction in the social sciences to include the study of the role and contributions of Native Americans to the economic, political, and social development of California and the nation, with particular emphasis on portraying the role of Native Americans in contemporary society; and
WHEREAS, the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve states that the history curriculum of community, state, region, nation, and world must reflect the experiences of men and women of different racial, religious, and ethnic groups and must be integrated at every level.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Education of the West Contra Costa Unified School District proclaims the Second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that resources and training will be made available to teachers on appropriate ways to teach about the history, struggles, and accomplishments of Indigenous Peoples.

PASSED AND ADOPTED by the Board of Education of the West Contra Costa Unified School District on this eighteenth day of October 2017, by the following vote:

AYE’s ____ NO’s _____ ABSENT _____ ABSTAIN _____

I HEREBY CERTIFY that the foregoing resolution was duly and regularly introduced, passed, and adopted by the Board of Education of the West Contra Costa Unified School District, Contra Costa County, at a meeting of said Board on October 18, 2017.
___________________________________ ___________________________________
President of the Board of Education of the Clerk of the Board Education of the
West Contra Costa Unified School District West Contra Costa Unified School District

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  1. Sylvia Barrett 2 months ago