Local reps united in support of Indigenous Peoples Day

By Stephen Betts | Mar 20, 2019

Augusta — Knox County's state legislators were in agreement Tuesday, March 19, in support of a bill to change the name of the Columbus Day holiday in Maine to Indigenous Peoples Day.

The Maine House voted 88-51 in support of LD 179. The Maine Senate has yet to vote on the measure.

Voting for the bill in the House were Reps. Pinny Beebe-Center, D-Rockland; Vicki Doudera, D-Camden; Anne Matlack, D-St. George; William Pluecker, independent of Warren; Jeffrey Evangelos, independent of Friendship; and Genevieve McDonald, D-Stonington, a district that also includes Vinalhaven and North Haven.

"It's long over due. Columbus didn't discover anything; seriously, how can someone discover something where our Native Nations had been living for thousands of years? I was honored to vote to support our Native Nations," Evangelos said.

Pluecker explained his support. "It is important that we recognize the history of the tribes of Maine and the role that immigrants from Europe played in that history. The native peoples have lived in Maine and North America for thousands of years as sovereign people. We need to recognize their historical and modern presence in our state and the future that our state can build with them," Pluecker said.

Matlack said "This bill is an important first step toward mending the rift between the Wabanaki Nations and the state of Maine. I agree with Maulian Dana, the tribal ambassador of the Penobscot Nation, who said this bill will lead to 'an elevated sense of respect and compassion between surrounding communities and the Wabanaki Nations … '."

Doudera said "I saw this vote as an important step toward recognizing the contributions of the First Nations to Maine's history and culture. There is no doubt that the relationship between the state and our indigenous peoples needs some attention, and particularly as we approach our bicentennial, we need to seek out more ways to unite and heal."

 

Columbus Day will remain a federal holiday, which has been the case since 1934. The holiday is observed on the second Monday in October.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Mar 21, 2019 07:05

History cannot be changed but we can decide which parts are deserving of honor.  Benedict Arnold will always be part of our history but there will probably never be a "Benedict Arnold" day.



Posted by: Sumner Kinney | Mar 20, 2019 19:21

Why not eliminate the holiday all together?

I am indigenous am I not?

This is absolutely silly.  Changing our history.

The dimms are making fools of themselves.



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