By a unanimous vote in its first order of business Tuesday night, the Falls Church City Council put Falls Church on record with only 55 other U.S. cities to declare the second Monday of October, normally recognized as Columbus Day, “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” as “the Commonwealth of Virginia is built upon the homelands and villages of the indigenous peoples of this region…whose knowledge, labor, technology, science, philosophy, arts and deep cultural contributions have substantially shaped the character of the United States.”
The movement to change the subject of traditional Columbus Day celebrations to those of Indigenous Americans had only two cities, Berkeley and Santa Cruz, Calif., until just three years ago when the list of jurisdictions making the switch began to grow.
Council member Letty Hardi then said the Council should move to make the change permanent for the City and asked to City staff to offer the means for doing that. The Council’s strong statement said it “opposes the systematic racism towards indigenous people in our country, which perpetuates poverty and income inequality,and exacerbates disproportionate health, education and social stability” and affirmed that the City “wishes to help close the equity gap for indigenous peoples through practices that reflect the experiences of indigenous peoples, ensure greater access to opportunity and honor our nation’s indigenous roots, history and contributions.”
The proclamation was signed by Mayor David Tarter on behalf the entire Council.