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.
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
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?
Cover Photo taken by John Phelan, CC 3.0 License.