In the March 2, 2021 Annual Town Election, Wellesley voters have the opportunity to show their support for honoring Indigenous Peoples Day and ceasing to observe Columbus Day with a YES vote on Question 1.
Indigenous people have been calling for Indigenous Peoples Day (IPD) for decades. IPD was formally recognized by the UN Geneva Conference Declaration of 1977 and is currently celebrated instead of Columbus Day in 14 states, the District of Columbia, and 130 cities, including 13 communities in Massachusetts.
Indigenous Peoples Day acknowledges the ongoing presence of the Original Peoples of Turtle Island–this land we now call North America–as well as Indigenous communities around the world.
In this time of existential ecological crisis, Indigenous Peoples Day provides an opportunity to center the voices of Indigenous people, whose sciences, cultures, and ways of life carry much needed wisdom on how to live sustainably in balanced relation with each other and the land.
Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day begins to remedy the harmful effects of racist U.S. policies and distorted histories that normalize genocide, removal, erasure and negative stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples while glorifying colonization and white supremacy.
We cannot celebrate both Indigenous Peoples Day and Columbus Day. Columbus brought a culture of domination, exploitation, violence, and greed that resulted in the genocide of millions of Indigenous people, ongoing racial oppression and destruction of complex ecosystems. Celebrating Columbus is an affront to Indigenous people.
Changing to Indigenous Peoples Day is not anti-Italian; it is an anti-racist stand against the genocidal legacy of Columbus. Many Italian Americans stand in solidarity with Indigenous people and values (see italiansforipd.org).