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Mar 8, 2016 12:21 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton School Board May Vote To Change Name Of Columbus Day

Mar 8, 2016 5:05 PM

Students in the Southampton School District might observe “Indigenous Day” instead of Columbus Day next year, if officials follow through on a proposal to change the name of the school holiday that is observed on the second Monday in October.

Members of the Shinnecock Nation Youth Council officially will petition the School Board at its meeting on Tuesday, March 15, to make the change.

Tribal Trustee Nichol Dennis-Banks said the district should show respect to indigenous people whom the Italian explorer killed when he arrived in the New World.

“By implementing this new holiday, it would just be like a first step in a larger effort to reclaim an accurate telling of history,” said Ms. Dennis-Banks. “I feel that the school system needs to implement Native American history, especially Shinnecock history, into the curriculum.”

The discussion about changing the name of the school holiday to Indigenous Day first began last year, when seventh-graders who were studying Christopher Columbus wrote letters to the School Board asking to change the name of the school holiday. The students even participated in a mock trial in which Columbus was judged to be guilty of murdering thousands of indigenous people. The class also found that the explorer was the first European to land in South America, not North America.

District Superintendent Scott Farina said Tuesday that no decision has been made yet about changing the name of the school holiday—but that one could be made at the meeting on March 15.

“It is just the time of year to adopt next year’s calendar, and we had not changed anything last year, and so there is an idea of possibly changing it for next year,” he explained.

Several states across the United States do not recognize Columbus Day, including Alaska, Hawaii and Oregon, and cities including Minneapolis and Seattle celebrate Indigenous People’s Day.

Joan Tutt, a retired teacher who taught in the Southampton School District, said changing the name would be a “slap in the face” to Italians who celebrate and love their heritage. “They didn’t give anybody any notice on this—they just went and did it,” Ms. Tutt said. “We are supposed to be getting along here, and what is going on is very divisive. Instead of pulling us together, it is going to push us apart.”

Ms. Dennis-Banks explained that there are about 10 to 15 Native American students who graduate from Southampton High School every year, and that their culture should also be considered. She even recommended that the town “jump on board with this, seeing as … they have a neighboring Native American community.”

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SERIOUSLY!!! Give us all a Break. Find something good to do with all the time wasted on changing a day that has always been celebrated one way. I'm sure there are Educational issues that could be discussed rather than wasting time changing the name of a Holiday. OMG
By mychildmatters (70), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 8, 16 1:06 PM
Trump would never allow this
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Mar 8, 16 7:12 PM
Oh I know right!? He would make sure that the slave owner and genocidal maniac would get not just his own holiday - but a whole week off. This way we could really celebrate the way he would have wanted. By murdering innocents and destroying peoples land. Pretty much what Trump is planning on doing to some other countries anyway! Such a good idea.
By Polandspring (96), Southampton on Mar 17, 16 12:55 PM
I hope the Town follows suit as others around the nation already have.
By Barbara L.Bornstein (2), on Mar 8, 16 8:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm sure the Rez Mob's next request will be to make 4:20 a school holiday.
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Mar 8, 16 8:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
Get real people, it's a NATIONAL holiday. Just drop the label and everyone go to work and school. How about all the immigrants that came years ago legally...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Mar 8, 16 9:44 PM
What a wonderful diversion to distract our attention from the reality that many of these students will be ill-prepared to meet the demands of today's world when they graduate.
By gusef (53), Southampton on Mar 9, 16 9:33 AM
2 members liked this comment
Awesome.You win the Internet today!
By jams (129), hampton bays on Mar 9, 16 12:11 PM
Why not just change the Southampton History books to say Geronimo discovered America. While your at it you can take the Pilgrim off the Southampton town seal and replace it with a turkey.
By Ernie (88), Hampton Bays on Mar 9, 16 3:40 PM
That would be awesome!
By KellyDarlene (2), on Mar 14, 16 5:06 PM
Is this a joke? The only thing that's clear to me is we need new school board members! These people ought to be ashamed of this one. One suggestion that goes further back in time is if we renamed it "caveman day".
By all seasons (9), southampton on Mar 9, 16 9:09 PM
SEA TV is airing the BOE meeting from 2/23 today, Thursday, 3/10, @ 3:30pm,
and Sunday, 3/13 @ 2:30 pm . I attended the meeting. It was almost 2 1/2 hrs long. The part of the meeting discussing the calendar was at the end at about the two hour point. Anyone so interested, should watch and listen to this discussion and the public comments. If you only want to see the calendar portion of this BOE meeting, I would suggest tuning in about 5:20pm today, and 4:20 pm on Sunday.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Mar 10, 16 12:19 PM
Correction~ the tv airing starts @ 3:45pm today.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Mar 10, 16 3:41 PM
My apologies. The BOE meeting that is on now, is an earlier meeting and does not cover the calendar, I do not believe.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Mar 10, 16 3:50 PM
This is insane. I remember when the Hamptons were truly great and rural and we could do whatever we wanted out here. Used to able to drive on and off the roads and hunt on property that is now owned by homeowners and is no longer forest or beach. Now it seems we're unable to even change the name of a holiday without the politically correct newbs jumping in and trying to stop it.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Mar 11, 16 7:39 AM
Perhaps our Shinnecock neighbors should have their own day of recognition and let us new comers have ours, fairness and all that
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Mar 12, 16 9:18 AM
2 members liked this comment
They already have one; April 15th. the day most of us have to pay taxes and they don't.
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Mar 14, 16 6:10 PM
The Friday after Thanksgiving might be such a day.
By Hamptonsseashell (359), on Mar 12, 16 11:01 PM
Ridiculous. So, just throw the Italian Americans under the bus?? I cannot even believe the board is considering this...Should I list the names of the Italian Americans that have contributed to this country's history and growth? OH, there is not enough room in the paper.
Shame on you!!!!
By powerwalker (52), Southampton on Mar 13, 16 8:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
As much as most people hate to hear it, Columbus was a slaver who committed genocide in an attempt to find what turned out to be a minimal amount of gold.

His second voyage consisted of seventeen ships, and even his own diary entries show he intended on stealing every bit of wealth he could lay his hands on from the indigenous people. By 1500, his work was accomplished and he successfully exterminated over ninety percent of the native population. He was not a decent man, or an explorer ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Mar 13, 16 8:43 PM
Actually, Small Pox did most of the work. By the time the Mayflower arrived it had ravaged all the way up the East Coast.
By smacw (240), New York on May 23, 16 4:34 PM
Puleeaassseeeee. REALLY dont you have better things to do?
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Mar 15, 16 1:03 PM
Whitewashing history to appease modern sensibilities is a fools errand. If you don't know the mistakes of the past, you won't know not to repeat them.
By smacw (240), New York on May 23, 16 4:37 PM