02/08/21 Contact: Marsha Small 541-868-7000, email@example.com
Summary: Indigenous People’s Day Montana is soliciting public support before a committee hearing of Senate Bill 146 slated for Wednesday, Feb. 10.
HELENA — A group seeking to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day as a state holiday in Montana is urging public support of a bill that will be heard in committee at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10 in room 317-A of the capitol.
Indigenous People’s Day Montana is asking for public comment favoring Senate Bill 146 sponsored by Shane Morigeau D-Missoula. The bill would replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day as one of 11 legal holidays in Montana. In addition, the state also recognizes Sundays as a legal holiday. Comment may be given by registering at:
specifying Senate Bill 146. Marsha Small, one of the co-founders of Indigenous Peoples’ Day Montana, said that since 2016 the group has helped make Indigenous People’s Day a recognized holiday in several Montana cities and municipalities including Missoula, Bozeman, Livingston, Helena, Hays and Harlem. Efforts are ongoing in Billings and in other communities.
Columbus Day is a federally recognized holiday. Falling on the second Monday of October, it commemorates Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas on Oct.12, 1492.
However, Small points out that Indigenous People’s Day is now a national movement honoring Indigenous history, culture, and place. There are over 13 states and over 130 cities that opted to change to a celebration of Indigenous People’s Day. For example, the city of Philadelphia announced on Monday that the city has renamed the holiday to Indigenous Peoples Day.
Small said that “Indigenous Peoples’ Day Montana is dedicated to educating students, teachers, and the public alike to recognize the significance of the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. We are united by our commitment to instill accurate historical knowledge, preserve cultural heritage, advocate for tribal sovereignties, and promote unified healing. Many elementary students in the nation are still mistakenly taught that Columbus discovered America. He did not. We are trying to change that interpretive paradox of history.” she said.
She urges interested persons to attend the hearing in person in room 317-A, or to submit testimony in advance.
This is the third time that the Montana Legislature has considered changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. The last attempt was in 2019 when a similar bill passed the House but died in a Senate committee.
To learn more, go to the Indigenous People’s Day Montana Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/IndigenousPeoplesDayBozeman, contact Small at 541-868-7000 or, firstname.lastname@example.org., or
register online to testify at: https://leg.mt.gov/public-testimony/.