Brattleboro Schools to observe Indigenous Peoples' Day
Brattleboro Town School Board Chairwoman Jill Stahl Tyler said the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union Board meets on Wednesday. The change, if approved there, could come to several school districts including Dummerston, Guilford, Putney and Vernon.
"It will be an interesting discussion of the supervisory union," said Stahl Tyler.
She was speaking at the Sept. 20 meeting where a resolution had been approved by the Brattleboro Town School Board. The document stated, "Whereas, at the Town of Brattleboro 2017 annual Representative Town Meeting, the Town unanimously approved a petitioned article to advise the Select Board to proclaim the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Columbus Day and the Town of Brattleboro Select Board has heeded said advice by adopting a resolution to that effect on April 18, 2017, whereas the Brattleboro Town School Board likewise desires to recognize the Indigenous People of Wantastegok in Sokwakik — the immediate area now known as Brattleboro, Vermont — dwelling here prior to and during the colonization begun by Christopher Columbus in the Western Hemisphere; and whereas, there is ample local evidence, including petroglyphs at the West River, demonstrating this area has been inhabited for millennia, long before Europeans began to settle along the
Connecticut River and its tributaries,
notably at Fort Dummer in Brattleboro in 1724; and whereas, the Town of Brattleboro recognizes that this area comprises in part the homelands of Indigenous Peoples including the Abenaki, their allies, and ancestors; and whereas Indigenous Peoples' Day will provide an opportunity for our community to recognize and celebrate the Indigenous Peoples of our region, in concert with similar celebrations elsewhere; and whereas, the Brattleboro Town School Board encourages our public schools, associated educational institutions, businesses, and other institutions to recognize and celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day, and now, therefore, the Brattleboro Town School Board hereby resolves and proclaims that the second Monday in October of each year shall be Indigenous Peoples' Day in the public elementary schools of Brattleboro."
Rich Holschuh, of Brattleboro, has been advocating for the change. He is a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs.
"Thank you very much," he told the school board.
Holschuh had brought the matter up for a vote at annual Representative Town Meeting in Brattleboro by getting enough signatures on a petition. After getting unanimous support from Town Meeting members, the Select Board made the change to the town's October observance official via a resolution.
Last year, then-governor Peter Shumlin approved of a similar resolution. Recently, Gov. Phil Scott did the same.
The town of Marlboro also has made the change after voters approved at annual Town Meeting in March.
Reach staff writer Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or @CMaysBR.
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