- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) - Port Angeles is the latest city in Washington to consider adopting a holiday honoring Native Americans - but not on Columbus Day.

The Peninsula Daily News reports (https://is.gd/xisJIC ) that the City Council plans to consult with the Lower Elwha and other tribes about establishing Indigenous People’s Day.

This year Seattle and Bellingham decided to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day on the same day as Columbus Day, the federal holiday marking the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. Many Native Americans find that holiday offensive, considering the explorer’s brutal treatment of the natives.

But Italian-Americans consider Columbus Day to essentially celebrate their contributions to American culture, and some groups have protested the celebration of Indigenous People’s Day on that holiday.

Port Angeles Mayor Dan Di Guilio, who is of Italian descent, says he thinks it’s appropriate to honor Native Americans on a different day - perhaps around the summer solstice, to coincide with Canada’s National Aboriginal Day.

The Lower Elwha Klallam, the Port Gamble S’Klallam and the Jamestown S’Klallam all have strong ties with Salish bands on Vancouver Island.

Arlene Wheeler, Lower Elwha tribal planning director, urged the council to adopt an Indigenous People’s Day, and Councilwoman Sissi Bruch - a member of the Lower Elwha tribe - said it would be “respectful and inclusive.”

Bruch originally had brought the idea up for discussion in October, after the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to call the federal Columbus Day holiday by the name of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

While he endorsed the idea, Councilman Brad Collins warned against abandoning Columbus Day.

Collins called the second Monday in October “an important day for Italian Americans and other people celebrating European people’s coming to the New World.”

Collins and members of the city staff will represent Port Angeles in the discussions about establishing the day.


Information from: Peninsula Daily News, https://www.peninsuladailynews.com

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