Oct 10, 2014 - For Immediate Release: Bellingham City Council to Vote on Changing Columbus Day to Coast Salish Day
The Bellingham City Council in Bellingham, WA will vote on a resolution Monday October 13th to change Columbus Day to Coast Salish Day. The resolution was drafted by Roxanne Murphy (Nooksack) and member of the Bellingham City Council.
“Why do we celebrate an individual [Columbus] when so many bad things happened because of what he did?” -Roxanne Murphy
Coast Salish Day Proposal
The second Monday in October has historically served as Columbus Day in the United States.
However, several states don’t honor this holiday, including Washington State.
While so many celebrate Christopher Columbus, the era of colonization and the genocidal actions of Christopher Columbus have also led to historical trauma within various cultures and people, namely Coast Salish populations.
Additionally, research has shown that Coast Salish Tribes, including the Nooksack Indian Tribe and the Lummi Nation, have lived, worked and played in Bellingham since time immemorial.
Thus, the goal of this proposal is to establish Coast Salish Day on the second Monday in October, a day other parts of the country still celebrate Columbus Day.
Now is a time where we can start to help set historical records straight, and create a holiday that celebrates both the Nooksack Indian Tribe and the Lummi Nation.
This proposal would also pair perfectly with Washington State House Bill 1495, which requires that Tribal history is taught in our school districts.
The hope is that all future second Mondays in October will include an event to raise Tribal flags at Bellingham City Hall, speeches from Tribal leaders and Bellingham leaders, and possibly other traditions that the Tribes may wish to offer, which could foster improved cultural connections.
Most fundamentally, the dream is that all future Coast Salish Days will remove any previous negativity from the former holiday and institute a day of celebration, culture, healing and respect.