Copyright 2011 Michael Riffle (http://michaelriffle.smugmug.com/)
SEATTLE— At the Seattle Human Rights Commission’s July 24th meeting, the Commission passed a resolution declaring that that the second Monday of October, the federal holiday known as Columbus Day, should be recognized in Seattle as “Indigenous Peoples Day.”
“This move would put the City in good company with Minneapolis, which took similar action in April, and other cities such as Berkeley that have already made the change,” the Human Rights Commission said in a news release.
Now that the Human Rights Commission has been passed, the measure has been advanced to the Seattle City Council by Council members Bruce Harrell and Kshama Sawant through Resolution 31538.
The summary of the resolution in part reads:
“Reaffirming the City’s commitment to promote the well-being and growth of Seattle’s American Indian and Indigenous Community.”
Columbus Day dates back to 1892 when President Harrison made a proclamation observing a day set aside to celebrate Christopher Columbus. It has been a federal holiday since 1937.
Many American Indians have long resisted the observance of a day to honor Christopher Columbus, who is credited with “discovering” the Americas in American history.
The American Indian Movement has long sought to eliminate the observance of Columbus Day. Here is language from a press released distributed by the American Indian Movement in October 2000:
“Columbus was the beginning of the American holocaust, ethnic cleansing characterized by murder, torture, raping, pillaging, robbery, slavery, kidnapping, and forced removals of Indian people from their homelands.”