ITHACA, N.Y. — The Ithaca Common Council unanimously voted Wednesday night of officially recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, giving Columbus Day the axe.
Several people spoke in support of the change during the public comment period, and Mayor Svante Myrick called the move “long overdue.”
The change, which proved too divisive to pass the Tompkins County Legislature last month, was passed with little fanfare from Common Council.
Second Ward Alderman Ducson Nguyen wrote to his colleagues least month:
Columbus Day aims to celebrate Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas, an occasion that kicked off centuries of exploration and colonization. While those of us not descended from indigenous peoples have undoubtedly benefited from that colonialism, Columbus delivered violence, enslavement, disease and European land grabs to this continent. Columbus never set foot in North America and has no relevant ties to Ithaca in particular.
Nguyen worked with City Attorney Ari Lavine and Schelley Michelle-Nunn, director of Human Resources, to pass the measure out of City Administration before bringing it to the council.
Below is a draft (which was slightly modified) of the new ordinance: