by Howard Weiss-Tisman, September 2, 2017
Gov. Phil Scott says that he will proclaim Oct. 9, 2017 as Indigenous People’s Day in Vermont. This is the same date on which the federal holiday Columbus Day falls this year.
According to his proclamation, Scott says the state will recognize the contributions of Vermont’s first residents.
“I’m pleased to recognize the historic and cultural significance of the Indigenous Peoples here in Vermont, with an understanding our state was founded and built upon the lands they first inhabited,” Scott wrote in a prepared statement obtained on Friday. “With this proclamation, we, as a state, aim to acknowledge and celebrate indigenous heritage.”
Gov. Peter Shumlin issued a similar proclamation in 2016 after Brattleboro resident Rich Holschuh suggested the idea. Holschuh, a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, says he reached out to Scott’s office earlier this year to extend the proclamation.
It would take legislative action to formally rename Columbus Day in the state. However at the local level, the Brattleboro select board already passed a resolution this year after town meeting voters passed a nonbinding resolution supporting the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in lieu of Columbus Day.