Bellingham City Council replaces Columbus Day with Coast Salish Day
The Bellingham City Council officially recognized Coast Salish Day on the date usually recognized as Columbus Day by a unanimous vote on Monday night meeting, Oct. 13.
Council member Roxanne Murphy said she would bring the ordinance forward to honor local tribes on the day that many others still use to honor Christopher Columbus.
“I’m just hoping we can do right by the negativity the Coast Salish have experienced,” Murphy said.
Neither Bellingham or Washington officially recognize Columbus Day as a holiday.
“We have a shared history with the Coast Salish people here. … Some of it has not been all that good,” Councilman Terry Bornemann said.
“I think this is one little step of recognizing what valuable contributions (the Coast Salish people) made to this area, and their long, noble history,” Bornemann continued.
A proposal accompanying the city ordinance,stated that in the future, all second Mondays in the month of October could include raising of tribal flags at City Hall. There could also be events featuring speeches from tribal leaders, along with other traditions the Nooksack Indian Tribe and Lummi Nation or other Coast Salish tribes would like to do.
“The proposal stated that “the dream is that all future Coast Salish Days will remove any previous negativity from the former holiday and institute a day of celebration, culture, healing and respect.”
Seattle City Council passed a similar ordinance Oct. 6, recognizing Indigenous People’s Day.
image courtesy of John at flickr.com