This destructive agenda only serves to divide our community
The Westford Select Board voted to add a ballot question to the May ballot. Westford’s so-called “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) Committee is pushing to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
In a joint session of the Select Board and DEI Committee, the topic of how to best provide an opportunity for community input regarding this ballot question renaming Columbus Day was discussed.
The Westford community spoke against this three times already! First, the motion failed at Town Meeting. Second, a community survey resulted in 64% opposed. And third, a “community listening session” yielded 80% disapproval from residents who spoke.
All people are imperfect, yet Christopher Columbus is being targeted and attacked while Indigenous Peoples are being glorified. This is imbalanced and destructive. This move to replace one holiday with another is actually inequitable and divisive.
An unhinged vandal decapitated the statue of Christopher Columbus
in Boston on June 9, 2020. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Christopher Columbus is famous for being a brave navigator and explorer who completed four challenging voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, opening the way for European exploration and colonization of America.
In Columbia magazine, Carol Delaney, former professor at Stanford and Brown universities, explained that Columbus gave strict instructions to the settlers to ‘treat the native people with respect,’ though some of his men rebelled and disobeyed his orders.”
Robert Royal, author of Columbus and the Crisis of the West, wrote, “Contrary to the view that Columbus is the source of later mistreatment of Native Americans, he tried to get help in restraining that very abuse. At one point, he complained to the Spanish monarchs about the way that Spaniards were exploiting natives for gain and taking indigenous concubines. He asked them to send Christian missionaries to the Spaniards.”
Regarding indigenous peoples, let’s not overlook some horrible practices. Royal described “evil practices … among native populations… For example, there was human sacrifice in the Caribbean and even cannibalism when Columbus arrived there.”
Sadly, people are imperfect and capable of doing horrible things that deserve condemnation. At the same time, people, including Christopher Columbus and Indigenous Peoples, are blessed with worthy attributes and actions. Let’s not forget this fact by demonizing one and glorifying another.
Besides, a simple internet search reveals that there is already a day for Native Americans, the Friday after Thanksgiving. And, there is a whole month in November devoted to Native American Heritage.
Finally, advocates of this proposal demonstrate a complete disregard, even contempt, for Italian Americans and members of the Catholic community, for whom Christopher Columbus is a figure of respect and admiration. Canceling Columbus Day will be an affront, which sends a message of exclusion and inequality to many citizens of Westford.
There is no need to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. Save Columbus Day!
– Kathy Lynch, Republican State Committeewoman