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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 6:13 am | Fair 48º


Santa Barbara Exploring Switch to Indigenous Peoples Day Over Columbus Day

In solidarity with the local Chumash community, Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo and Councilman Oscar Gutierrez want the city to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day, the federal holiday observed on the second Monday of October.

Murillo and Gutierrez sent a letter to City Administrator Paul Casey requesting that the matter be placed on Tuesday’s City Council agenda. The pair said they are bringing the change forward on behalf of “the local Chumash community, the Tribal Trust Foundation and other community organizations.”

“The city has a duty to maintain a positive relationship with the Chumash community, including the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, and all the Chumash groups on the South Coast and the region,” the letter states.

“Joining the Chumash in their support of this proposal would be a gesture of good will and respect.”

If approved by the council, the city officially would replace Columbus Day, which marks the anniversary of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492. The city itself already does not recognize Columbus Day as an official city holiday.

Santa Barbara County passed a similar resolution earlier this month, as have more than 70 cities across the United States, including Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“The Tribal Trust Foundation and members of the Chumash community have been asking for this since the Standing Rock movement two years ago,” Murillo said. “For me, it is a simple and straightforward way to honor our local Native Americans.”

Gutierrez said it is time to make the change.

“I feel that our Native American community has historically been disrespected, and changing the name of the day would show to them that we do care about who they are and what they’ve been through,” he said.

The City Council meets at 2 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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