Statement to Newton City Council re videotaped testimony for 10/8/20 Indigenous Peoples Day hearing

Dear Members of the Newton City Council and Mayor Fuller:

We have created videotaped testimony of several Indigenous people and a non-Native historian in support of the Indigenous Peoples Day resolution that has been presented in Newton. The link to the videos is here: indigenouspeoplesdayma.org/newton

We have taken this step because Newton’s October 8 public hearing parameters would not allow us to properly present educational information about the need to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day. We requested a discrete and fixed amount of time in which we could make a proper presentation, without being interrupted, but were denied that. In particular, we are choosing not to speak in a forum that platforms people who present false history and deny Indigenous genocide, and where we would be limited to two minutes each to be able to speak about our history and current conditions. Additionally, we do not believe that the council would force this sort of format on other people such as Armenians and Jews who might come before the body to give a presentation about their own people’s genocide. We cannot help but remark that the privileging of bigoted white voices is part of how anti-Indigenous racism and white supremacy play out in the US.

A critical part of considering an Indigenous Peoples Day resolution is to center and listen to Indigenous voices. We hope that you will take the time to listen to this powerful testimony. You will learn a lot by doing so.

Thank you.

Mahtowin Munro for IndigenousPeoplesDayMA.org


Newton Indigenous testimony for 10-8-20 hearing

Presentation to the Newton City Council in support of the Indigenous Peoples Day resolution  

Presentation to the Newton City Council
In support of the Indigenous Peoples Day resolution
October 8, 2020
 
Speakers in order of appearance:
 
Darlene Flores, Higuayagua Taino (Newton resident)
 
Chali’Naru Dones, United Confederation of Taino People 
(UCTP) representative/ Guainia Taino Tribe (Newton resident)
 
R. Múkaro Agüeibaná Borrero, President, United Confederation of Taino People; Kasike, Taino iukaieke Guainia
 
Lynne Guitar, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, Historian & Cultural Anthropologist, Taíno Specialist, Writer, Editor, and Spanish-English Translator
 
Jean-Luc Pierite, Tunica-Biloxi
President of Board of Directors, North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB)
 
Mahtowin Munro, Lakota
Co-leader, United American Indians of New England (UAINE) and IndigenousPeoplesDayMA.org

Statement of Tata’Niki Iraheta, Taino Nation, age 9

Statement of Tata’Niki Iraheta, Taino Nation, age 9.
Newton resident and elementary school student


About the Campaign

For decades, many Native people have been calling for an end to the public celebration of Christopher Columbus on the second Monday in October. They have also asked that Indigenous Peoples Day, a day to honor Indigenous Peoples from throughout the Americas, be declared on that same day because of the date’s significance. They consider it a first step toward recognizing the genocide of millions of Indigenous people and the theft of their lands that began with the arrival of Columbus.

Changing the holiday is an important step towards recognizing and correcting some of the countless wrongs committed against Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (what’s now known as the Americas). If we can’t even so much as celebrate the first peoples of this land, and not the person responsible for the largest genocide ever committed, then how can we expect good public policy or day to day treatment for Native Americans?

Please follow our page on Facebook to stay connected with us: Indigenous Peoples Day Newton and contact us if you want to get involved!

Cover Photo taken by John Phelan, CC 3.0 License.