Eighth graders studied the true story of Columbus’s encounter with the Taino during a unit on Encounters in the Atlantic in social studies and were able to meet Mahtowin from the United American Indians of New England. In class, we wrote letters to City Council about what should be done on the second Monday in October. Some then volunteered to present at a committee hearing of the Cambridge City Council on May 26, 2016. On Monday, June 6th, the full City Council met to discuss whether or not to change the October holiday of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Eighth graders Kamil Sultan, Evelyn Roberts, Ana Sokolovska, Simon Simpson, Zoë Haber, Ginevra Zaccagnini, Anusha Alam, and Mattingly Wood spoke again during public comment. The Cambridge City Council voted unanimously to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Cambridge is the first major city in the Northeast to pass such a resolution. Great job to the students for speaking out and having their voices heard! Thank you to everyone for coming out to support the students.