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 Policy Order Resolution
  O-15
  Calendar item #3
  IN CITY COUNCIL
  October 19, 2015
  December 21, 2015
COUNCILLOR MAZEN
VICE MAYOR BENZAN

WHEREAS: Columbus Day has been celebrated unofficially since the early 18th century, and was officially made a Federal Holiday in 1937 to be celebrated on the second Monday of October, with M.G.L Part I, Title I, Ch. 4, section 7, clause 18 setting aside the second Monday of October as a State Legal Holiday, and M.G.L Part I, Title II, Ch. 6, Section 12V designating that the Governor declare that day to be Columbus Day; and
   
WHEREAS: The day commemorates Christopher Columbus' landing in the Americas, on October 12, 1492, which initiated the first lasting contact between the Americas and Europe; and
   
WHEREAS:

Columbus' First Voyage to the Americas also initiated the transatlantic slave trade, journal entries from Columbus show his desire to enslave the native populations of the Caribbean, and he imprisoned and transported many people of differing races and ethnicities to this end; and

   
WHEREAS: Columbus' Second Voyage of 1493 was one of conquest, wherein seventeen ships were led by him to the New World, and his governorship of the Caribbean instituted systematic policies of slavery and extermination of native populations, especially the Taino people whose population was reduced from approximately 8 million to 100,000 during Columbus' reign, being further reduced by the continuation of his policies until extinction in 1542; and
   
WHEREAS:

The example of the Taino people is merely indicative of the policies of Columbus and his people and all told some historians estimate that more than 15 million indigenous persons were exterminated in the Caribbean Basin alone; and

   
WHEREAS:

Though the introduction of European diseases may account for some of these deaths, starvation and extermination policies are mostly to blame, and thus this atrocity cannot be reasonably attributed to forces outside of the control of European colonialists; and

 
WHEREAS:

Other localities have adopted Indigenous Peoples' Day as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day, to promote Native American culture and commemorate the history of Native American Peoples; and

   
WHEREAS:

Cambridge believes that the culture of Native American people is one to be promoted, the history is rich, diverse, and worthy of celebration, and that the actions and policies of European colonizers of the Americas destroyed a part of that culture, and inhibited the promulgation of it for generations to come; and

   
WHEREAS:

The City of Cambridge recognizes that civilization as we know it would not be possible in the Americas without Columbus' voyages, but must also hold to the moral imperative of condemnation of these actions, as we now know them to be violations of justice in the eyes of international, domestic, and moral laws; now therefore be it

   
RESOLVED:

That the Council go on the record to state that the second Monday of October henceforth be commemorated as Indigenous Peoples' Day in Cambridge, in recognition of the indigenous people of America's position as native to these lands, and the suffering they faced following European conquest of their land; and be it further

   

RESOLVED:

That the Council recommends that Indigenous Peoples' Day be observed by the people, with appropriate exercises in the schools and otherwise, to the end that the culture, history and diversity of Native American Peoples be celebrated and perpetuated; and be it further
   

RESOLVED:

That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward suitably engrossed copies of this resolution to the North American Indian Centre of Boston, the Nipmuc Nation, the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribal Council, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, The Praying Indian Tribes of Natick and Ponkapoag, and the Massachuset at Ponkapoag Tribe, being descendants of those people indigenous to this area, on behalf of the entire City Council.

   

MOTION TO AMEND BY SUBSTITUTION BY COUNCILLOR MAZEN CARRIED VV 8 SUBSTITUTE TEXT PLACED ON UNFINISHED BUSINESS BY COUNCILLOR MAZEN VV 8   View Roll Call Votes from October 19, 2015
UNFINISHED BUSINESS   View Roll Call Votes from December 21, 2015
TABLED ON THE MOTION OF VICE MAYOR BENZAN ON A ROLL CALL VOTE 9-0-0
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