We hope you enjoy this interview with Rich Holshuh regarding a Representative Town Meeting article advising Brattleboro change to Indigenous Peoples' Day.
What question would you like Brattleboro to vote on?
To simply change the holiday observed on the second Tuesday in October from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day.
Why is this an issue for Brattleboro?
I would like to see Brattleboro lead (in the State, and the country at large) in the small but growing movement to recognize that we owe respect and recognition to all Original People, both here and globally, and to acknowledge that the colonialism brought by Columbus and others of similar motivation was and is not laudable. Further, it is appropriate that a change be instigated here, since Fort Dummer, within the borders of what is now Brattleboro, is the particular site where Indigenous exploitation and marginalization began in the current state of Vermont.
Is there also a larger context for this issue? If so, please explain...
Partly addressed this in the previous answer. Another aspect is timeliness: Native voices and rights are being heard in a larger forum recently, with the Standing Rock activism, and have been given some additional impetus within the social conversations around civil rights in general. Further, we will be taking this same question to the legislature for Statewide action next.
What moved you to gather petition signatures for this?
This was the legally expeditious path, once the Selectboard declined my request to place the question on the Warning under their own action. Also, I knew there would be a strong base of support so the task was achievable, with others lending their assistance. I serve on the VT Commission for Native American Affairs, so this is not only a personal concern but also a part of my service to the Native community.
This is the lower number of petition signatures, which makes it advisory only and not binding. Thoughts?
I looked into the difference between a 5 or 10% signature threshold. The 10% number is required for an ordinance; this question is not of that nature. Further, I was told by the Town Clerk that a voter-approved advisory article has never NOT been adopted - it is effectually binding.
How can people learn more?
There is a great deal of topical material online in web search. Also, I can be contacted!
If someone wanted to help, how could they best get involved?
If someone is a RTM member, vote yes. Or ask your district member to vote yes. When we get this to the state level, ask your representative to support it; Rep. Brian Cina will be introducing a bill to the House within weeks.
Anything else people should know?
This is a relatively simple but symbolic gesture. It is part of raising awareness and setting the stage for more substantive efforts on behalf of the Native community; as an integral part of my own approach in these efforts, I seek to start close to home. Stay tuned to learn more about the missing and hidden heritage of Wantastegok/Brattleboro!
Wliwni - thank you,
Visit Quotidiously and Sokoki Sojourn. Wliwni nid8bak!