The Edmonds School District Board of Directors on Sept. 27 proclaimed the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day, and received several comments of appreciation for their efforts.
While the second Monday in October has traditionally been celebrated as Columbus Day, the date in recent years has become known as Indigenous Peoples Day, and President Joe Biden declared it a national holiday in 2021. This shift comes after questions have been raised about whether explorer Christopher Columbus should be celebrated given his treatment of Indigenous people.
The board had recent Edmonds-Woodway High School graduate Kira Isaac read the proclamation to the audience.
A summary of the proclamation reads:
The Edmonds School District recognizes that the Indigenous Peoples of the lands that would later become known as the Americas have occupied these lands since time immemorial. Indigenous Coast Salish peoples, including Sauk-Suiattle, Stillaguamush, Tulalip, and other tribes inhabited the Puget Sound region that encompasses the shorelands and uplands of Snohomish County for thousands of years, using the area to harvest salmon, shellfish and land-based resources.
The Edmonds School District values the many contributions made to our community by the Indigenous Peoples through knowledge, labor, technology, science, philosophy, arts and the deep cultural contribution that has substantially shaped the character of this district. The Edmonds School District promotes educational excellence for Indigenous Peoples through policies and practices that reflect the experiences of Indigenous Peoples, ensure greater access and opportunity and honor our nation’s indigenous roots, history and contributions.
The Edmonds School District joins a growing number of school districts that have recognized the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day, creating an opportunity to promote appreciation, tolerance, understanding, friendship and partnerships among Indigenous Peoples and all who attend the Edmonds School District.
Now therefore be it resolved that the Edmonds School District shall recognize Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October.
Cante Remle, a sophomore at Edmonds Heights K-12, said he hopes this proclamation will help students learn more about their individual cultures and appreciate where they came from.
“I’d love to see … every school district, maybe not even just in Washington, recognize Indigenous Peoples Day as a national holiday,” Remle said.
Public commenter Cathy Baylor thanked the board for their recognition of such a special day.
“We are who we are because of the excellent programs in place here,” Baylor said. “I want to thank you all for continuing to provide these types of educational experiences that all South Snohomish County children need. May we understand that the wounds of colonization are still with us today. May we do whatever we can to teach all of our children the truth about our history so in time, we may heal.”
Pamela Bond-Seamonster also thanked the board for giving Indigenous people a voice in the community.
“Thank you, high class people, for remembering my people, the Indigenous people of what was Turtle Island,” Bond-Seamonster said. “It is an amazing night to me. Thank you for letting my people not be invisible.”
— By Lauren Reichenbach