Indigenous Peoples’ Day up for debate at Wendell meeting

Recorder Staff
Published: 10/18/2016 5:48:59 PM

WENDELL — Wendell could this week join the band of communities distancing themselves from the legacy of Christopher Columbus.

An article on the warrant for Thursday’s special town meeting asks if residents wish to designate the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, instead of Columbus Day, in recognition of the continent’s original inhabitants. The article, which Town Coordinator Nancy Aldrich said was submitted via petition by residents, states Columbus Day commemorates when Columbus landed in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492.

The article also states the famous explorer’s first voyage to the Americas also introduced the trans-Atlantic slave trade and started an epidemic of disease, starvation and extermination that devastated the indigenous peoples.

Aldrich said the second Monday of October is still recognized as Columbus Day at the state and federal levels. Amherst, Northampton and Cambridge are among the localities in the state that have made the conversion.

Another warrant article asks if residents wish to adopt a new bylaw that would ban the lighting and smoking of any tobacco or marijuana products on town-owned property. An initial offense would result in a written warning, followed by a $50 fine for the second offense, $100 for the third, and $150 for the fourth or any subsequent offense. Adoption of a similar article would prohibit on town-owned property all alcohol consumption and the transport of open containers of alcohol.

Aldrich said the Conservation Commission recommends postponing a vote on the article pertaining to a wetlands protection bylaw.

Another article asks if residents want to transfer $77,679 from the stabilization fund to reduce the tax rate.

You can reach Domenic Poli at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 258
On Twitter: @DomenicPoli

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