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    8 Oct 2016

    Vermont becomes the 2nd US state to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Columbus Day

     Vermont has officially changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day.
    Gov. Peter Shumlin signed an executive proclamation Thursday, making the change.
    Under the decree, Shumlin said a growing number of cities in towns in the United States have recognized the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples' Day.
    The day is "an opportunity to celebrate indigenous heritage and resiliency," the proclamation stated.
    "I think it's been a really long time coming," said White River Junction Cartoon Studies student Erienne McCray.  "Now Vermont has built in this day to celebrate indigenous peoples and i think that's fantastic.
    Vermont traditionally "recognizes the historic, cultural and contemporary significance of the Indigenous Peoples of the land that later became known as the Americas, including Vermont," Shumlin's decree stated.
    "The State of Vermont recognizes that it was founded and is built upon lands first inhabited by the Indigenous Peoples of this region - the Abenaki and their ancestors and allies - and acknowledges and honors the members of the community, both past and present."
    Shumlin encouraged all Vermonters to celebrate the new holiday.
    The City of Hartford will vote on a resolution to recognize the holiday name change.
    "One of the select board members said 'hey, we should have a discussion about
    Columbus day in consideration of Indiginous people's day,'" said Hartford Town Manager Leo Pullar.
    Pullar said the Selectboard probably won't vote on the idea for months, and the state has final approval over the change.  He said the issue is important to many in the area.
    "The Abenaki, one of the indiginous peoples of this area...culturally,
    historically have given great contributions to this area," said Pullar.
    At least 1,700 members of the Nulhegan-Memphremagog tribe of the Abenaki still live in several areas of Vermont. The tribe has its own government and constitution.
    The push to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day began in 1977. It has gained in popularity in recent years.
    Shumlin's proclamation is specific to only 2016. A spokesman for the governor said it could be issued yearly by the next governor, if he or she desired.

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