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Seattle City Council to consider changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day

The Seattle City Council is considering a resolution that would end Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples' Day. (Ap Photo/HO)

Columbus Day may soon be no more in the City of Seattle.

“The Seattle City Council will be debating one of the most important issues in all the world,” KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson said, “whether Seattle should change the day of Columbus Day to National Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

The council is considering a resolution proposed by Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Bruce Harrell that would declare the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day in the City of Seattle.

“They want Columbus Day no more because Columbus didn’t just sail the ocean blue in 1492, but he also was apparently a horrible, genocidal person,” Monson said.

Here are a few of the reasons the resolution cites celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day over Columbus Day:

“The City of Seattle recognizes that the Indigenous Peoples of the lands that would later become known as the Americas have occupied these lands since time immemorial.”

“The City of Seattle has a responsibility to oppose the systematic racism towards Indigenous people in the United States, which perpetuates high rates of poverty and income inequality, exacerbating disproportionate health, education, and social crises.”

Monson said this sounds like just the kind of idea that Seattle City Council members will support.

“They just know if it’s a whack-a-doodle cause that will be celebrated by the nuts among us, that they’re going to vote for it because then the nuts will keep voting for them,” Monson said.

“This is going to be a great day for the City and at the risk of being a little colloquial, I want to milk this out a little bit,” councilmember Bruce Harrell said in Tuesday’s council meeting.

The council referred the resolution to a committee for discussion and vote September 17.

Mayor Ed Murray hopes to sign the resolution to great fanfare on October 13, Columbus Day.

“I’m rather partial to celebrating the accomplishments of the Italians, but unfortunately, the more I’ve come to learn about Christopher Columbus, who was born in Genoa, the less enamored I have become of him,” said councilmemeber Nick Licata.

Several Native American people spoke during Tuesday’s brief public comment session.

Resolution co-sponsor Kshama Sawant said the change is about standing with people of color and indigenous people.

“These are historic facts, undisputed by historians and it is unconscionable that we celebrate Columbus as a hero,” Sawant said.

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