Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) held its pre-convening informational evening on March 15, 2017 at Academy School in West Brattleboro, VT. The Official Warning (agenda) was read and discussed, and questions and opinions were aired in preparation for action on Saturday, March 25th at the same venue, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The final item on the Warning, Article 22, asked “Shall the Town of Brattleboro advise the Selectboard to proclaim the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in place of Columbus Day?” This author, sponsor of the petitioned article, was present to speak in support of the measure; it appeared to be well-received that evening (testimony viewed at 1:18:15 in the video from Brattleboro Community TV).
Olga Peters, for Windham County’s The Commons weekly, put together an article in review of the Informational Meeting and cited the upcoming action on Article 22:
“The penultimate meeting article will ask members to advise the Selectboard to proclaim the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This would replace “Columbus Day” on the town calendar.
Rich Holschuh, who led the petition drive, spoke on the article, noting that changing the holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a nationwide movement. “Because its time has come,” he said. “Brattleboro can provide a great deal of leadership in the state because this is where colonization in the state began, in 1724 at Fort Dummer.”
According to Holschuh, Marlboro was the first town in Vermont to formally change the second Monday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Amherst, Mass., has also made the change.”
And, finally, the Brattleboro Reformer issued a full editorial in support of the measure on Friday, March 24, 2017, the day before the RTM meeting. Full text here. An excerpt below:
Today, March 25, Brattleboro will hold its annual Representative Town Meeting. While the reps will have some meaty issues to weigh and decide on, they will also be discussing whether the town should rename Columbus Day — which falls this year on Oct. 9 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Understanding the kind, compassionate, intelligent and literate people who volunteer to be meeting reps, we believe approval of Article 22, which calls upon the Select Board to do away with Columbus Day, is a given. Last October, the Select Board decided not to put the question on the annual Representative Town Meeting warning without a properly authorized petition.
Now that the matter is officially on the ballot, meeting reps can approve it and the new Select Board, which will be sworn in on March 27, will have the opportunity to do the right thing.