- Associated Press - Saturday, March 12, 2016

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - Flagstaff may join several other U.S. cities in creating an Indigenous Peoples Day.

Council members voted unanimously last week to have city staff start a process to determine whether the city will move forward with the idea. The holiday would encourage celebrating Native American culture annually on Columbus Day, the second Monday in October, the Arizona Daily Sun reports (https://bit.ly/1UibnzL ).

Indigenous Peoples Day would not replace Columbus Day in Flagstaff.

About 100 people in favor of the move attended the council meeting and some spoke in support.

Among the speakers was a student who is Navajo, who asked council members whether they had ever been the subjects of staring and insults at school because of their clothes, hair and jewelry.

Councilwoman Eva Putzova’s process calls for city staff to present a report in the coming months on the implementation of Flagstaff’s memorandum of understanding with the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission.

City staff will also set town hall meetings for the public and tribes to provide input, and then consider creating the new holiday.

Councilwoman Coral Evans compared the change to South Carolina’s decision to remove its Confederate flag from the capitol.

“Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, said on June 22, 2015, ‘This is a moment in which we could say that flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,’” Evans said. “I think the same can and should be said of Columbus Day. I think that Columbus, while an integral part of our past, our country’s history that should never be forgotten lest it be repeated. Columbus Day in my mind does not and should not represent the future of this country, much less this city, therefore, I support the establishment of Indigenous Peoples Day here in Flagstaff.”

At least nine cities celebrated Indigenous People’s Day for the first time last year, including Albuquerque and Portland, Oregon.


Information from: Arizona Daily Sun, https://www.azdailysun.com/

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