In the waning moments of Town Meeting last weekend, when the crowd of more than 1,000 people had dwindled down to just 130 voters, a resolution was passed to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Nantucket.
The citizen petition was sponsored by Emily Osley, who said more than 100 other municipalities and 17 states have already passed similar resolutions. “We’ve all been inculturated to the narrative of Columbus discovering America and it will require time and effort to disseminate a more accurate account of history,” Osley said. “nantucket is a Wampanoag name, and towns and streets island-wide bear Wampanoag place names. Yet the town has done little to honor the rich cultural history of the Wampanoag ancestors here. It is time.”
Osley’s citizen petition was ultimately approved on a 81-49 vote. There was a lone voice of dissent who spoke out to oppose the resolution. David Humphrey said the proposal represented a “snowball effect of political correctness and identity politics” and referred to a recent visit to the hospital in which he was asked to provide his gender identification and preferred pronouns.
“We have to honor indigenous peoples but we don’t need to honor them by dishonoring our European heritage,” Humphrey said.