Supes adopt Indigenous People’s Day
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.
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.