Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day
Vote YES at Annual Town Meeting on Saturday, May 15, 2021 on warrant article #34 to rename the second Monday of October to Indigenous Peoples Day in Bedford!
By adopting this resolution, we will honor the diverse histories and cultures of this land’s Indigenous peoples, take collective responsibility for the events of the past and the false and incomplete telling of our history, and create an environment for truth and healing in our community.
Now is the time for Bedford to the growing list of towns and cities in Massachusetts that celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day. These include Amherst, Arlington, Belmont, Brookline, Cambridge, Easthampton, Great Barrington, Marblehead, Mashpee, Maynard, Melrose, Newton, Northampton, Pittsfield, Provincetown, Salem, Somerville, and Wellesley.
"By keeping this holiday, we are teaching the next generation that a man whose atrocities were condemned in his time, should have his cruelties overlooked in our time. Do we want to raise children who ignore violence? When we learn and remember the names of Columbus' three ships more than people he brutalized, we are participating in actively making people and history invisible. With only 2% Indigenous people in the U.S. (2010 Census), do we want to contribute to cultural genocide?
The Arawak, Taino, Carib and other tribal nations populated the Caribbean islands and contributed many gifts to the world as we know it, including words to the English language, such as, hurricane, tobacco, hammock, canoe, barbecue, and cigar. The Arawak sacrifice and interaction created the first ongoing relationship with Europe that would open up contact with other Indigenous people who propagated and engineered crops that have become staples around the world. Isn't that something truly worth celebrating?”
~ Claudia Fox Tree (Arawak), Educator, Indigenous rights activist, and former longtime resident of Bedford
“Columbus Day for us is a constant reminder that the genocide and atrocities committed by the early colonists against the indigenous is not only accepted but celebrated. Bedford is the ancestral land of the Massachusett tribe. Why not celebrate this? We must stop this insanity of honoring and celebrating figures throughout history who have no place in our society today.”
~ Faries Gray, Sagamore, Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag