Vote for Indigenous Peoples Day in Bedford
Vote YES for the Indigenous Peoples Day warrant article at Annual Town Meeting on May 15, 2021. By passing this article, Bedford will join the growing number of communities (14 states and over 130 municipalities nationwide) that celebrate this land's First People every second Monday of October.
IPD Bedford needs a strong showing at Town Meeting! There have been a few alarming opposition Letters to the Editor here, here, and here. Read our “Top 4 Things to Know” to make sure Indigenous Peoples Day passes on May 15th!
#1 Where & When
Town Meeting is on Saturday, May 15th at 9 am on Sabourin Field at Bedford High School. Registration opens at 8 am. Parking is available in BHS, JGMS, and municipal building lots. IPD is article no. 34 out of 39. Articles will be heard in order, which means ours will probably come up around mid day. Bring your mask, water/snacks, and sun protection. All the info you need about the warrant, check in, parking, etc. is on the Town's website.
#2 You Don’t Have to be There All Day
The meeting will likely take several hours. Fortunately, attendance is flexible! You can come and go. If you leave, you must check out and check back in again when you return. There may be a line at the check-in area. We can notify you by text or email when the article is getting close. Please let us know your preferred method of communication (see #3 for survey link).
#3 Make a Plan to Vote!
We are trying to get an estimated vote count to gauge our support. Please let us know your plan by completing this quick survey.
#4 Follow, Like & Share
On the day of Town Meeting, we will share the progress of the proceedings and other important updates via Facebook and Twitter. Town Meeting will be livestreamed on Bedford TV's Youtube Channel here. If you are coming just to vote on IPD, we recommend that you head to the field at the start of article #25.
IPD Warrant Article Text
Indigenous Peoples Day Recognition
To determine whether the Town will vote to adopt the following Resolution to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day on the second Monday in October.
WHEREAS, Columbus Day commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, specifically on the Caribbean islands of The Bahamas on October 12, 1492, and, later, on Hispaniola (presentday countries of the Dominican Republic and Haiti); and
WHEREAS, Columbus’s voyages to the New World were ones of conquest, and his governorship of the Caribbean instituted systematic policies of slavery and extermination of Indigenous populations, especially the Taino/Arawak people whose population was reduced from millions to 100,000 during Columbus’s reign, being further reduced by the continuation of his policies until near-extinction in 1542; and
WHEREAS, the devastation of Indigenous populations would lead to the kidnapping, deaths, and enslavement of at least 10–12 million African people, and the profound effects of the transatlantic slave trade and African diaspora continue to be felt to the present day; and
WHEREAS, the Town of Bedford recognizes that Indigenous Peoples have occupied the lands that would later become known as the Americas since time immemorial, and that Bedford is situated on ancestral land of the Massachusett Tribe; and
WHEREAS, the Town wishes to honor our nation’s Indigenous roots and the many contributions made to our community, our Commonwealth, and our country by Indigenous Peoples now and throughout our history; and
WHEREAS, the Town of Bedford recognizes and acknowledges the ongoing trauma, historical harms, acts of genocide, and violations of human rights of Indigenous People caused by Christopher Columbus and the legacy of European colonization; and
WHEREAS, the District of Columbia; States of Alaska, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin; and municipalities including Salem MA, Somerville MA, Cambridge MA, Brookline MA, Marblehead MA, Newton MA, Northampton MA, Amherst MA, Melrose MA, Los Angeles CA, San Francisco CA, Denver CO, Portland OR, Seattle WA, Columbus OH, and many more observe Indigenous Peoples Day to promote Indigenous cultures and commemorate the history of Indigenous Peoples; and
WHEREAS, the Town of Bedford celebrates and welcomes all people, and is dedicated to promoting equity and justice in our Town through policies and practices that seek to end systemic racism and discrimination;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT TOWN MEETING VOTES AS FOLLOWS:
1. The second Monday of October shall henceforth be commemorated in Bedford as Indigenous Peoples Day, in honor of the resilience and contributions of Indigenous peoples in our Town, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and our country; and
2. The Town of Bedford encourages our community and our public schools to observe Indigenous Peoples Day with appropriate exercises and instruction to acknowledge the history of genocide and discrimination against Indigenous peoples, and to recognize and celebrate the thriving cultures, diversity, and histories of Indigenous Peoples.