Joe Diamond, Vice Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
On May 2, Westford voters will have the opportunity to make history and strengthen Westford’s character as a welcoming community that embraces diversity and fosters belonging. We can join with 20 Massachusetts Cities and Towns, 130 municipalities across the country, and 15 states including Vermont, Maine, Michigan and Texas in establishing the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day, superseding Columbus Day (www.history.com).
The inspiration for the ballot question, which the DEI recommended to and was approved by the Westford Select Board in August 2022, stems not only from the Fall 2020 Town Meeting but also from the growing recognition that indigenous people suffered for centuries in this country and that understanding their history and embracing their culture is an important step toward the overall reckoning regarding intolerance this country and state are engaged in.
In expressing its support for Indigenous Peoples Day on March 13, 2023, the Westford School Committee asserted that it “promotes equity in the curriculum and the culture of the school district, and to that end encourages its students, and all citizens of Westford, to deepen their understanding of the roots, history, and contributions of the Indigenous people of the region and the nation.” Westford sits on land once occupied by the Nipmuc people.
Along with other cities and towns in Massachusetts considering the question, there are two pieces of legislation at the State House (S.1976 and H. 2989), that would establish Indigenous Peoples Day statewide. Here is a link to an article that summarizes the legislation.
We urge residents to update their information about Indigenous Peoples Day. Several organizations support IPD including Italian Americans for Indigenous Peoples Day, Mass Indigenous Legislative Agenda, Indigenous Peoples Day MA, and Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness.
Italian Americans for Indigenous Peoples Day note on its website: “Italian Americans for Indigenous Peoples Day was formed in solidarity with thousands of Native peoples from many tribal nations who live in Massachusetts who are working to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.”
Please vote for Indigenous Peoples Day on May 2!
Disclaimer: If you would like to submit a letter to the editor, contact managing editor Ben Domaingue at firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters to the editor are reviewed and published at the discretion of the editor. Letters to the editor do not necessarily represent the opinions of WestfordCAT or its employees. WestfordCAT retains the right to refuse any letter to the editor for publication as it deems necessary.