Tim Cavanaugh on Seattle’s Folly: Indigenous People’s Day Is Offensive to Indigenous PeoplePosted: October 11, 2014
Tim Cavanaugh writes: It was either Francis Parkman or Frederick Jackson Turner or the composer of the theme from F Troop who first laid down an essential truth about the American experience: In the end, Paleface and Redskin both turn chicken.
“Could it be that the Emerald City just doesn’t have candidates worth a day of celebration? The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the current population of the overwhelmingly white city at 652,405, with American Indians and Alaska Natives making up just 0.8 percent of the total.”
Now the same white male power structure that made Black History Month the shortest month in the calendar and sabotaged the Susan B. Anthony dollar by making it indistinguishable from a quarter is at it again. And the oppression is coming from the supposedly sympathetic, progressive side: The city of Seattle, Washington, has designated an “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” on the second Monday of October — a day already reserved for the federal Columbus Day holiday.
“Still, that’s 5,200 people. Couldn’t Murray just give some local Indian the key to the city?”
Seattle’s City Council unanimously passed the proposal for a non-official city holiday earlier this week. Mayor Ed Murray will sign Indigenous Peoples’ Day into law Monday, and he noted to local media that the day is only an homage that has no municipal weight (no parking relief).
The legislation “will honor local Native-American tribes,” the Seattle Times reports. Murray claims Indigenous Peoples’ Day will “add new significance to the date without replacing the Columbus Day tradition,” according to the paper.
Of course, to displace Columbus Day you would actually have to believe in something: the perfectly defensible point that the arrival of late-medieval Europeans in the Americas was a catastrophe for native inhabitants so awful that it should not be celebrated. But making that decision would require a point of view, and half-assed gestures like Seattle’s are the negation of even the idea of having a point of view…(read more)