[Vision2020] Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day?

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Fri Sep 29 00:45:40 PDT 2017

Courtesy of today's (September 29, 2017) Moscow-Pullman .Daily News.


Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day?
Moscow Human Rights Commission asks city to change holiday's name to honor Native Americans instead of 'nasty' explorer

The Moscow Human Rights Commission is requesting the city of Moscow change Columbus Day, which falls on Oct. 9 this year, to Indigenous Peoples Day.

Ken Faunce, MHRC chair, said the biggest reason the commission desires the change is Columbus Day, named after explorer Christopher Columbus, is a symbol of conquest, genocide and slavery to Native American groups. Plus, Native Americans are indigenous to this area, Faunce said.

"He's so nasty that even people of his day said the guy was a murderer and horrible and an atrocity," Faunce said. "And he was removed from his position and put on trial for his crimes and found guilty of his crimes, but then the king of Spain pardoned him."

Indigenous Peoples Day would honor Native Americans and their ancestors, Faunce said.

While Columbus Day is recognized at the state of Idaho and federal level, City Supervisor Gary Riedner said the city of Moscow does not recognize Columbus Day as a holiday. Instead, city employees receive the day after Thanksgiving off as a substitute for Columbus Day, Riedner said.

Riedner said the City Council has the authority to designate holidays for the city to observe.

Since the city does not recognize Columbus Day as a holiday, city staff is discussing what potential future courses of action can be taken, Riedner said.

Several cities across the country, including Spokane and Seattle, have already made the change to Indigenous Peoples Day. Moscow would be the first city in Idaho to make the change. The University of Idaho recognizes Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day.

"This is the right thing to do," Faunce said. "Native Americans were treated horribly by the European settlers and by the early United States."

Council President Jim Boland said he is fine with changing the name from Columbus Day, but he said he does not believe Indigenous Peoples Day is inclusive to all races.

"I told (the MHRC) I would prefer if we're going to rename it that it didn't have any designation for any individual or group of people or race of people," Boland said.

He said he understands the commission's points and welcomes the discussion.

Mayor Bill Lambert said he is also fine with a name change but is not sure what to call the new holiday. He mentioned "Discovery Day" and "America Day" as options he would consider.

"It's not a big deal to change it," Lambert said. "I think everybody's fine with doing that."

Councilor Art Bettge said he definitely supports the name change to Indigenous Peoples Day. Bettge said Columbus happened to stumble upon North America long after others had, and Columbus' presence in North America led to nothing but problems for the indigenous people in terms of disease and slavery among other things, so naming a holiday after that person is inappropriate.

Councilors John Weber and Walter Steed said they would like to hear arguments from both sides of the table before providing their thoughts.


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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