Supes adopt Indige­nous Peo­ple’s Day

Times Standard (Eureka) - - FRONT PAGE - By Shomik Mukher­jee smukher­jee@times-stan­dard.com @ShomikMukh­er­jee on Twit­ter Shomik Mukher­jee can be reached at 707-441-0504.

The Hum­boldt County Board of Su­per­vi­sors will no longer rec­og­nize Columbus Day but in­stead ob­serve Indige­nous Peo­ple’s Day, fol­low­ing suit with a host of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties statewide.

The sec­ond Mon­day of Oc­to­ber is still rec­og­nized as Columbus Day at the fed­eral level, but cities and coun­ties around Cal­i­for­nia — as well as Gov. Gavin New­som in a state­ment last month — rec­og­nize indige­nous peo­ples in­stead of Christophe­r Columbus.

Columbus, the Ital­ian ex­plorer widely be­lieved to have opened the door to Euro­pean con­quest of the Amer­i­cas, has been cel­e­brated far less in re­cent years as the his­tory of his geno­ci­dal mas­sacre of indige­nous peo­ples has come to light.

“Re­nam­ing this day gives a more bal­anced rep­re­sen­ta­tion of our coun­try’s and lo­cal re­gion’s his­tory,” states the county’s staff re­port on the res­o­lu­tion to ob­serve Indige­nous Peo­ple’s Day.

“By adopt­ing this res­o­lu­tion, the county would be rec­og­niz­ing the vast and valu­able con­tri­bu­tions made to our com­mu­nity through Indige­nous Peo­ples’ con­tri­bu­tions as well as fos­ter­ing racial equal­ity and de­nounc­ing op­pres­sion,” the re­port states.

While the county had pre­vi­ously ob­served Columbus Day, county staff did not get a day off as the of­fices closed and in­stead took part in all staff training ses­sions.

In his procla­ma­tion last month, New­som called for pay­ing re­spect to the “cul­tures and pop­u­la­tions that ex­isted long be­fore Euro­pean con­tact.”

“In­stead of com­mem­o­rat­ing con­quest to­day, we rec­og­nize re­silience,” New­som said in his procla­ma­tion.

New lead­er­ship

The su­per­vi­sors voted unan­i­mously Tues­day to ap­point 2nd District Su­per­vi­sor Estelle Fen­nell as the board’s chair and 3rd District Su­per­vi­sor Mike Wilson as vice chair in 2020.

Fen­nell will suc­ceed 1st District Su­per­vi­sor Rex Bohn as chair, giv­ing her the au­thor­ity to run meet­ings and grant speak­ing abil­ity to other su­per­vi­sors and mem­bers of the pub­lic. The su­per­vi­sors take turns serv­ing as chair; Fen­nell pre­vi­ously headed the board in 2015.

The su­per­vi­sors ap­proved the ap­point­ments with­out dis­cus­sion.

In­ci­den­tally, Fen­nell is up for re-elec­tion in 2020, just as for­mer 5th District Su­per­vi­sor Ryan Sund­berg was when he served as board chair in 2018. Sund­berg would ul­ti­mately lose to Steve Madrone, but con­tin­ued to rep­re­sent his district and head the board un­til the end of the year.

The 2nd District elec­tion will take place in March 2020. Fen­nell has al­ready de­clared her can­di­dacy, as have three other su­per­vi­so­rial hope­fuls.

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