Beaverton does away with Columbus Day
The City of Beaverton sought to right a longtime wrong by doing away with Columbus Day.
On Oct. 4, the Beaverton City Council joined numerous other cities across the United States in adopting a resolution presented to them by the Beaverton Human Rights Advisory Commission, which changed the second Monday of October from Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day.
Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle signed the resolution and paved the way for Beaverton's first celebration of Indigenous Peoples' Day, which hosted 102 people on Monday, Oct. 9, at Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District Elsie Stuhr Center.
Beaverton City Councilor Lacey Beaty read the proclamation recognizing "that the Indigenous People of the lands that would later become known as the Americas, have occupied these lands since time immemorial; and the City recognizes that the Tualatin Valley was the land of the Atfalati band of the Kalapuya Indians, after whom the Valley is named..."
Following an introduction by Judy Donovan, vice president of the Beaverton Historical Society and co-sponsor of the event, guest speaker David Gene Lewis, member of the Grand Ronde Tribe, historian, and professor of anthropology and native studies, elaborated about the historical events that "disenfranchised and dislocated the indigenous people of the Tualatin Valley," according to attendee Marilyn McDonald.
According to the proclamation, Indigenous Peoples' Day was meant to emphasize and recognize "the value of many contributions made to our community by Indigenous Peoples; and the City of Beaverton has a responsibility to oppose the systemic racism toward indigenous Peoples of the United States, which perpetuates high rates of poverty and income inequality, exacerbating disproportionate health, education and social crises."
The proclamation also emphasizes that "the United States endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on Dec. 16, 2010, recognizing the right 'to dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations, which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.'"
Indigenous Peoples' Day was sponsored by Beaverton's Human Rights Advisory Commission and Cultural Inclusion Program and the Beaverton Historical Society.
Attendees were offered fry bread from TeePee's food cart; spiritual wind instrument music and reflections by Ecuadorian Kanari Inka leader Felix Chuma Pinguil; a cultural arts presentation about the Native peoples' traditional lifeways by Grand Ronde tribal member Greg Archuleta, as well as drumming and artifacts sharing by Eduardo and Maria from Huehca Omeyocan.
By Mandy Feder-Sawyer
Reporter, Beaverton Valley Times
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